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Full text of "Just David [microform]"

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(«NSI and ISO TEST CHABT No. 2) 




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JUST DXVID 




"JUST UAVU)" 



J i -T DAVID 



Ef.K \N{)K !•, i'ORTEK 



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~-*£^:i*4^jBS3fia»6j a 



JUST DAVID 



BY 



ELEANOR H. PORTER 



With lllattraliom by 
Belen Maion Grow 




TORONTO 

THOMAS ALLEN 

PDBLISHER 



/ 



07^33 
IB7- 



COPYKIOlrr, 1916, BT ELKANOR H. FOSTER 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



MY FRIEND 
Mn, Jamet Hartnett 



CONTENTS 

I. THE MOUNTAIN HOME ... 1 

II. THE TRAIL jg 

in. THE VALLEY 28 

IV. TWO LETTERS 40 

V. DISCORDS 57 

VI. NUISANCES, NECESSARY AND OTHER- 
WISE 72 

Vn. YOU 'he WANTED — YOU 're WANTED 89 
VIII. THE PUZZLING "DOS" AND "dON'ts" 102 

"'■'°^ 116 

X. THE LADY OF THE HOSES . . .131 

XI. JACK AND JILL . . . . 145 

XII. ANSWERS THAT DID NOT ANSWER 155 

XIII. A SURPRISE FOR MR. JACK . . 163 

XIV. THE TOWER WINDOW . . . .176 
XV. SECRETS jg7 

XVI. DAVID'S CASTLE IN SPAIN . . 199 

XVII. "THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER" 210 

XVIH. DAVID TO THE RESCUE . , 225 

vii 



CONTENTS 

XIX. THE UNBEAUTIFUL WORLD 
XX. THE UNFAMILIAR WAY 
XXI. HEAVY HEARIS 
XXII. AS PERRY SAW :t 
XXm. PUZZLES .... 
XXrV. A STORY REMO/ ELED . 
XXV. THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD 



. 241 
. 252 
. 264 
274 
284 
298 
308 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

"JUST DAVID" (p. 35) . . . Frontispiece 
"DADDY. COMEl I 'VE DONE THE BACX)N ALL 
myself" ..... 4 

"BUT MY SONG - I 'd HAVE LOST ItI" . 70 
"throw -THESE -THINGS -away!" . 70 
"VOU 'RE wanted - YOU 'lE WANTED!" . 96 
WITH A CAW OF TRIUMPHANT REJOICING 104 
"IF I HAD MY WAY I 'd FORGET THEM" . I'-J 
EYES FIXED ON THE TOWERS OF SUNNY- 

"^^■^ 180 

"he must HAVE HAD A NAME" . . .170 
"you 're my boy, DAVID, - MY BOY !" . 238 
"THEN, WHY DID N't HE GO TO HER AND - 

AND — TELL HER?" 262 

"is IT BECAUSE I 'm - GOING - THAT YOU 

CARE — SO much?" 322 



JUST DAVID 



CHAPTER I 

THE MOUNTAIN HOMb 

Fah up on the mountain-side the little shack 
stood alone in the clearing. It was roughly yet 
wannly built. Behind it jagged cliffs broke ih«! 
north wind, and towered gray-white in the sun- 
shine. Before it a tiny expanse of green sloped 
gently away to the point where the mountain 
dropped in another sharp descent, wooded with 
scrubby firs and pines. At the left a footpath 
led into the cool depths of the forest. But at the 
right the mountain fell away again and dis- 
closed to view the picture David loved the best 
of all: the far-reaching valley; the silver pool 
of the lake with its ribbon of a river flung far 
out; and above it the .^rays and greens and 
purples of the mountains that climbed one 
upon another's shoulders until the topmost 
thrust their heads into the wide dome of the 
sky itself. 



JUST DAVID 
There was no road. apparenUy, leading away 
from the cabin. There wai only the footpath 
that disappeared into the forest. Neither, any- 
where, was there a house in sight nearer than 
the lite specks far down in the valley bv the 
nve.. 

Within the shack a wide fireplace dominated 
one Slue of the main room. It was June now 
and the ashes lay cold on the hearth; but from 
the tmy lean-to in the rear came the smell and 
the sputter of bacon sizzling ovei a blaze. The 
furnishings of the room v,ere simple, yet, in a 
way. out of the common. There were two 
banks, a few ru'" ut comfortable chairs, a 
table, two music-, ks, two violins with their 
cases, and everywi re books, and scattered 
sheets of lusic. Nowhere was there cushion, 
curtam. or knickknack that told of a woman's 
taste or touch. On the other hand, neither was 
V'^re anywhere gun, pelt, or antlered head that 
spoke of a man's strength and skill. For deco- 
raUon there were a beautiful copy of the Sistine 
Madonna, several photographs signed with 
names well known out in the great world be- 
yond the mountains, and a festoon of pine 
cones such as a child might gather and hang 



THE MOUNTAIN HOME 

From the little lean-to kitchen the sound of 
the sputtering suddenly ceased, and at the door 
appeared a pair -' dark, wistful eyes. 
"Daddy 1" caued the owner of the eyes. 
There was no answer. 

"Father, are you there?" called the voice, 
more insistently. 

From one of the bunks came a slight stir and 
a murmured word. At the sound the boy at the 
door leaped softly into the room and hurried to 
the bunk in the comer. He was a slender lad 
with short, crisp curls at his ears, and the red of 
perfect health in his cheeks. His hands, slim, 
long, and with tapering lingers like a girl's, 
reached forward eagerly. 

"Dadd", come I I've done the bacon all my- 
self, and the potatoes and the oofTe*, too. 
Quick, it's all getting cold!" 

Slowly, with the aid of the boy's firm hands, 
the man pulled himself half to a sitting pos- 
ture. His cheeks, like the boy's, were red— 
but not with health. His eyes were a little wild, 
but his voice was low and very tender, like a 
caress. 

"David — it's my little son David!" 
"Of course it's David! Who else should it 
3 



JUST DAVID 

be?" laughed the boy. "Come!" And he 
tugged at the man's hands. 

The man rose then, unsteadily, and by sheer 
will forced himself to stand upright. The wild 
look left his eyes, and the flush his cheeks. His 
face looked suddenly old and haggard. Yet 
with fairly sure steps he crossed the room and 
entered the little kitchen. 

Half of the bacon was black; the other half 
was transparent and like tough jelly. The po- 
tatoes were soggy, and had the unmistakable 
taste that comes from a dish that has boiled 
dry. The coffee was lukewarm and muddy. 
Even the milk was sour. 
David laughed a little ruefully. 
"Things are n't so nice as yours, father," he 
apologized. "I'm afraid I'm nothing but a 
discord in that orchestra to-day! Somehow, 
some of the stove was hotter than the rest, and 
burnt up the bacon in spots; and all the water 
got out of the potatoes, too, — though that 
did n't matter, for I just put more cold in. I 
forgot and left the milk in the sun, and it tastes 
bad now; but I'm sure next time it'll be better 
— all of it." 

The man smiled, but he shook his head sadly 
4 




•UADDY. COME I I'VE DONE THE BACOX AU. MYSEU," 



THE MOUNTAIN HOME 

DavkL"*''"^ °"8''* °°t *° ^ any 'next time.' 

"Why not? What do you mean? Aren't 

Therewl ^"'V" '"' ""' *'^ again. father?" 
There was real distress in the boy's voice. 

The man hesitated. His lips parted with an 
indrawn breath, as if behind them lay a ru^ 

stilT uniid Vf" ^'°"' ^™P"y- ^he Zt 

other^- • ^'"^ "^'^^y* '^^^ these 

"Well. son. this isn't a very nice way to 

treatyoursupper,isit?Now,ifyo,.please:i'll 
take some of that bacon. I think I feel my ap- 
petite commg back." 
If the truant appetite "came back." how- 

but httle. He frowned, too. as he saw how little 

the food and dishes away, and he was still si- 
lent when, with the boy. he passed out of the 
house and walke-l to the little bench facing the 

Unless it stormed very hard. David never 
went o bed without this last look at his " Si^^^r 
Lake, as he called the little sheet of water f^ 
down m the valley. 

e 



il kill 



JUST DAVID 

"Daddy, it's gold to-night — all gold with 
the sun I" he cried rapturously, as his eyes fell 
upon his treasure. "Oh, daddy!" 

It was a long-drav;n cry of ecstasy, and hear- 
ing It, the man winced, as with sudden pain. 

"Daddy, I'm going to play it — I've got to 
play it!" cried the boy, bounding toward the 
cabin. In a moment he had returned, violin at 
his chin. 

The man watched u d listened; and as he 
watched and listened, his face became a battle- 
ground whereon pride and fear, hope and de- 
spair, joy and sorrow, fought for the mastery. 

It was no new thing for David to "play" the 
sunset. Always, when he was movtd, David 
turned to his violin. Always in its quivering 
strings he found the means to say that which 
his tongue could not express. 

Across the valley the grays and blues of the 
mountains had become all purples now. Above, 
the sky in one vast flame of crimson and gold, 
was a molten sea on which floated rose-pink 
cloud-boats. Below, the valley with its lake 
and river picked out in rose and gold against 
the shadowy greens of field and forest, seemed 
Uke some enchanted fairyland of loveliness. 
6 



THE MOUNTAIN HOME 

And all this was in David's violin, and all this, 
too, was on David's uplifted, rapturous face. 

As the last rose-glow turned to gray and the 
last strain quivered into silence, the man spoke. 
His voice was almost harsh with self-control. 

"David, the time has come. We'll have to 
give it up — you and I." 

The boy turned wonderingly, his face still 
softly luminous. 

"Give what up?" 

"This— all this." 

"This! Why, father, what do you mean? 
This is home!" 

The man nodded wearily. 

" I know. It has been home ; but, David, you 
did n't think we could always live here, Uke 
this, did you?" 

David laughed softly, and turned his eyes 
once more to the distant sky-line. 

"Why not?" he asked dreamily. "What 
better place could there be? / like it, daddy." 

The man drew a troubled breath, and stirred 
restlessly. The teasing pain in his side was very 
bad to-night, and no change of position eased 
it. He was ill, very ill; and he knew it. Yet he 
also knew that, to David, sickness, pain, and 
7 



JUST DAVID 

death meant nothing — or. at most, words that 
had always been lightly, almost unconsciously 
passed over. For the first time he wondered if, 
after all. his training — some of it — had been 
wise. 

For six years he had had the boy under his 
exclusive care and guidance. For six years the 
boy had eaten the food, worn the clothing, and 
studied the books of his father's choosing For 
six years that father had thought, planned, 
breathed, moved, live,d for his son. There had 
been no others in the little cabin. There had 
been only the occasional trips through the 
woods to the little town on the mountain-side 
for food and clothmg, to break the days of close 
companionship. 

All this the man had planned carefully. He 
had meant that only the good and beautiful 
should have place in David's youth. It was 
not that he intended that evil, unhappiness, 
and death should lack definition, only definite- 
ness. in the boy's mind. It should be a case 
where the good and the beautiful should so fill 
the thoughts that there would be no room for 
anything else. This had been his plan. And 
thus far he had succeeded — succeeded so won- 



THE MOUNTAIN HOME 
ierfully that he began now. in the face of his 
own Illness and of what he feared would come 
of It. to doubt the wisdom of that planning 

As he looked at the boy's rapt face, he re- 
membered David's surprised questioning at the 
hrst dead squirrel he had found in the woods 
David was sw then. 

"Why, daddy, he's asleep, and he won't 
wake upl" he had cried. Then, after a gentle 
touch: "And he's cold -oh. so cold!" 

The father had hurried his son away at the 
tune, and had evaded his questions; and David 
had seemed content. But the next day the boy 
had gone back to the subject. His eyes were 
wide then, and a little frightened. 
"Father, what is it to be — dead?" 
"What do you mean, David?" 
"The boy who brings the milk — he had the 
squirrel this morning. He said it was not 
asleep. It was — dead." 

"It means that the squirrel, the real squirrel 
under the fur, has gone away, David " 
"Where?" 

"To a far country, perhaps." 
"Will he come back?" 
"No." 



m 



JUST DAVID 

"Did he want to go?" 
"We'll hope 80." 

"But he left his — his fur coat behind him. 
Did n't he need — that?" 
"No, or he'd have taken it with him." 
David had fallen silent at this. He had re- 
mained strangely silent, indeed, for some days; 
then, out in the woods with his father one 
morning, he gave a joyous shout. He was 
standing by the ice-covered brook, and looking 
at a little black hole t,hrough which the hurry- 
ing water could be plainly seen. 

"Daddy, oh, daddy, I know now how it is, 
about being — dead." 
"Why — David I" 

"It's hke the water in the brook, you know; 
that 's going to a far country, and it is n't 
coming back. And it leaves its little cold ice- 
coat behind it just as the squirrel did, too. It 
doesn't need it. It can go without it. Don't 
you see? And it 's singing — listen I — it 's sing- 
ing as it goes. It wante to go!" 

"Yes, David." And David's father had 
sighed with relief that his son had found his 
own explanation of the mystery, and one that 
satisfied. 



THE MOUNTAIN HOME 
Uter. in his books, David found death again. 
It was a man. this time. The boy had looked 
up with startled eyes. 

"Do people, real people, like you and me. 

be dead, father? Do they go to a far country?" 

"Yes, son, in time — to a far country ruled 

over by a great and good King, they tell us." 

David's father had trembled as he said it, 

and had waited fearfully for the result. But 

David had only smiled happily as he answered: 

But they go singing, father, like the little 

brook. You know I heard it!" 

And there the matter had ended. David was 
ten now and not yet for him did death spell 
terror. Because of this David's father was re- 
lieved; and yet — still because of this — he 
was afraid. 
"David," he said gently. "Listen to me." 
The boy turned with a long sigh 
"Yes, father." 

"We must go away. Out in the great world 
there are men and women and children waiting 
for you. You've a beautiful work to do; and 
one can't do one's work on a mountain-top " 

"Why not? I like it here, and I've always 
been here." 



JUST DAVID 
"Not always, David; six years. You were 
four when I brought you here. You don't re- 
member, perhaps." 

David shook his head. His eyes were again 
dreamily fixed on the sky. 

" I think I 'd like it — to go — if I could sail 
away on that little cloud-boat up there," he 
murmured. 
The man sighed and shook his head. 
"We can't go on cloud-boats. We must 
walk, David, for a way - and we must go soon 
— soon," he added feverishly. " I must get you 
back — back among friends, before — " 

He rose unsteadily, and tried to walk erect. 
His limbs shook, and vhe blood throbbed at his 
temples. He was appalled at his weakness. 
With a fierceness born of his terror he turned 
sharply to the boy at his side. 

"David, we've got to go! We've got to go 
— to-morrowl" 
"Father!" 

"Yes, yes, come!" He stumbled blindly, yet 
m some way he reached the cabin door. 

Behind him David still sat, inert, staring 
The next minute the boy had sprung to his feet 
and was hurrying after his father. 



CHAPTER II 



THE TRAli. 

A CURIOUS strength seemed to have come to 

iolnTK ^u"" ^"""'^ '•'««''y hands he took 
down the photographs a.d the Sistine Ma- 
donna, packing them neatly away in a box to 
be letl From beneath his bunk he dragged a 
IZl r^ "«veli„g-bag. and in this he sTowed 
a httle food, a few garments, and a great deal 
of the music scattered about the room 
rf.r r"*'^'" the doorway, stared in dazed won- 
der. Gradually mto his eyes crept a look never 
seen there before. 

h.^^"*^!' r''"^ "" ^^ «°'"8?" he asked at 
ast m a shaking voice, as he came slowly into 
the room. •' 

"Back, son; we're going back " 
baZ?"''' '''"'^'' *''"■' ** ''' "" «««^ ^''d 

"No. no. lad. not there. The other way We 
go down into the valley this time " 
^The valley -;„j, valley, with the Silver 

i3 



JUST DAVID 
"Yes, my son; and beyond — far b«yond " 
The man spoke dreamily. He was looking at a 
photograph in his hand. It had slipped in 
among the loose sheets of music, and had not 
been put away with the others. It was the like- 
ness of a beautiful woman. 

For a moment David eyed him uncertainly; 
then he spoke. 

"baddy, who is that? Who are ail these 
people m the pictures? You've never told me 
about any of them except the Mttle round one 
that you wear in your pocket. Who are they? " 
Instead of answering, the man turned far- 
away eyes on the boy and smiled wistfully. 

"Ah, David, lad, how they'll love you! How 
they will L -. you! But you must n't let them 
spoil you, son. You must remember — remem- 
ber all I've told you." 

Once aga:n David asked his question, but 
this time the man only turned back to the 
photograph, muttering something the boy 
could not understand. 

After that David did not question any more. 

He was too amazed, too distressed. He had 

never before seen his father like this. With 

nervous haste the man was setting the Uttle 

i4 



THE TRAIL 
room to rights, crowding things into .h. k 

bright. He taTked J T'' '"' 'y"" ^'^'^ 
though Delist id tdetat T'T"^' 
word of what was said. S Jh. „ "'^ " 
up his violin and plaved^nH T" '""«''' 
David heard ^s'l:^:^' ZT^J ZT' rf 
boy's eyes filled, and his hear, n - . ^''^ 
that choked and numl^d - .h„ fV T^ ' "''" 
could not have Jd Stiinafe'l':'''"' 

-thita.,crt;tt?hrckrf^;2:r 

In the gray dawn nf it,,. ■ ^^'^P- 

its decotSs.it t:rd'";rr^' 

closed and strapped, rested on the floor h T 
door, together with the twTvTo hi ^^h ^^ 
cases, ready to carry " *''*"" 



JUST DAVID 

"Yes." 

"And is that all we're to carry?" 

"Yes. Hurry, son." 

"But we come back — sometime?" 

There was no answer. 

"Father, we're coming back — sometime?" 
David's voice was insistent now. 

The man stooped and tightened a strap that 
was already quite tight enough. Then he 
laughed lightly. 

"Why, of course you're coming back some- 
time, David. Only think of all these things 
we're leaving!" 

When the last dish was put away, the last 
garment adjusted, and the last look given to 
the little room, the travelers picked up the bag 
and the violins, and went out into the sweet 
freshness of the morning. As he fastened the 
door the man sighed profoundly; but David did 
not notice this. His face was turned toward 
the east — always David looked toward the 
sun. 

"Daddy, let's not go, after all! Let's stay 
here," he cried ardently, drinking in the beauty 
of the morning. 

"We must go, David. Come, son." And the 
i6 



THE TRAIL 

man led the way across the green slope to the 

It was a scarcely perceptible trail, but the 

idence. There was only the pause now and 
hen to steady his none-too-sure step, or t^ ease 
the burden of the bag. Very soon th'e forestlay 
all about them, with the birds singing over 
their heads, and with numberless tiny flet 
scurrymg through the underbrush on all sides 
ZlT- J'^^*- ^ ^'""^ ^^^^^^^ noisily of its 
tot' .V" """-"'"^^ ^"'^ ^"^y "P - th« tree- 

ina ,LT" •"« '"" P'^y^'l hide-and-seek 
among the dancmg leaves 

And David leaped, and laughed, and loved it 
aJl, nor was any of .t strange to him. The birds 
the trees, the sun, the brook, the scunyingli tie 
o-ea tures of the forest, all were frienl f ht 

though he. too, loved it all. The man was 

iil'hJ''^T """' ^' ''"^ undertaken more 
than he could carry out. Step by step the bag 
had grown heavier, and hour by hour the in 

uSolT'^^^" ^" ''' sideLdTncrerj 
until now It was a torture. He had forgotten 

17 



I 



JUST DAVID 
that the way to the vaUay was so long; he had 
not realized how nearly spent was his strength 
before he even started down the trail. Throb- 
bing through his brain was the question, what 
if. after all. he could not — but even to himself 
he would not say the words. 

At noon they paused for luncheon, and at 
night they camped where the chattering brook 
had stopped to rest in a still, black pool. The 
next morning the man and the boy picked up 
the trail again, but without the bag. Under 
some leaves in a Uttle hollbw, the man had hid- 
den the bag, and had then said, as if casually:— 
"I believe, after all, I won't carry this along. 
There's nothing in it that we really need, you 
know, now that I've taken out the luncheon 
box, and by night we'U be down in the valley " 
"Of course!" laughed David. "We don't 
need that." And he laughed again, for pure 
joy. Liule use had David for bags or bag- 
gage! 

They were more than halfway down the 
mountain now, and soon they reached a grass- 
grown road, little traveled, but yet a road 
Still later they came to where four ways 
crossed, and two of them bore the marks of 
i8 



THE TRAIL 

been in a voice that „,„ lu , ""'^ ^^^ 

sounding. H was r,l''''1 '"'^ """^t"^«'- 
noticedfhareveT^ „""•"« ^'''' ^^^ ^avid 

eyes were vervbnVht f ' ^^*P»- "« 
the road aheTd'"?'^^ Tj^ f f ^ent on 
"taking was noi ha e ILlh T ' '^ "^^ 
spolce to him but he riiH f '^"' °^^'d 
boy could oSy tit air' T^^''^ "^^ ^he 
feet and sigh forl^hf/ ^ "" ''" ^"^^^ ''«le 

tain-top whth th Shtdleft rrA^ '"°"°- 
morning before ^'""'^ *''«•" the 

the?Idreltti/rV^^^^'^"' -'^ those 
and the boycarS; h '*r'"""" '° ^''^ '"'"^ 

-e^^as-s-s;:t:;^:r 





1 


;v ■ 


hF 


h- 


inf 


m 


i»ij 



JUST DAVID 

ing in the grass at the side of the road, stum- 
bled and fell heavily to the ground. 
David sprang quickly forward. 
"Father, what is it? What is it?" 
There was no answer. 

"Daddy, why don't you speak to me? See 
it 's David!" 

With a painful effort the man roused him- 
seLf and sat up. Fcr a moment he gazed dully 
into the boy's face; then a half-forgotUn some- 
thing seemed to ^tir him into feverish action. 
With shaking fingers he handed David his 
watch and a small ivory miniature. Then he 
searched his pockets until on the ground be- 
fore him 'ay a shining pile of gold-pieces — to 
David there seemed to be a hundred of them. 

"Take them — hide them — keep them 
David, until you — need them," panted the 
man. "Then go — go on. I can't." 

"Alone? Without you?" demurred the boy 
aghast. "Why, father, I couldn't! I don't 
know the way. Besides, I'd rather stay with 
you," he added soothingly, as he slipped the 
v'Stch and the miniature into his pocket; "then 
v.-e can both go." And he dropped himself down 
at his father's side. 



THE TRAIL 

The man shook his head feebly, and Doint.^ 
again to the gold-pieces. ^"'^^'^ 

"Take then,, David, — hide them" h 
chattered with pale lips '"' ^^ 

Almost impatie,.tly the boy began pickine un 

he dp • i • ^ •" ""' 8°*"g without you " 
he declared stoutly, as the last hi. „f .^ 

l^Sl °"' "^ * -d a i andlSn 
rattled around the turn of the road above 

.ngly at the man and the boy by the roadside- 
but he did not stop. After he had passedtt: 

to write, laboriously, painfully'^ ^' "' *''^'" 
David sighed and looked about him. He was 

r,hio f u ^""'eth'ng veiy wrong, very ter- 
nble, must be the matter with his fafkc Here 
It was almost dark, yet they had no place to 
go. no supper to eat, while far, far ud on ,h 
mountain-side was their own dea^ hoi ^ 

and lonely without them. Up^eStooTesul 



a ■ I' 



JUST DAVID 

still shone, doubtless, — at least there were the 
rose-glow and the Silver Lake to look at, while 
down here there was nothing, nothing but 
gray shadows, a long dreary road, and a strag- 
ghng house or two in sight. From above, the 
valley might look to be a fairyland of loveliness, 
but in reality it was nothing but a dismal waste 
of gloom, decided David. 

David's father had torn a second page from 
his book and was beginning another note, 
when the boy suddenly jumped to his feet. One 
of the straggling houses was near the road 
where they sat, and its presence had given 
David an idea. With swift steps he hurried to 
the front door and knocked upon it. In answer 
a tall, unsmihng woman appeared, and said, 
"Well?" 

David removed his cap as his father had 
taught him to do when one of the mountain 
women spoke to him. 

"Good evening, lady; I 'm David," he began 
frankly. "My father is so tired he fell down 
back there, and we should like very much to 
stay with you all night, if you don't mind." 

The woman in the doorway stared. For a 
moment she was dumb with amazement. Her 



THE TRAIL 

of^.m.„ by the roadside. Her chin caJI^ 

Oh, would you. indppHi w.ii 
word," she scouted.' "Hu4h7t S 7 
commodate tramps, little bov " AnH ? u 
the door hard ^ ' ""'' **«y- And she shut 

wiSn h '^'''''- ^ «^^<=« somethLi ro^ 

withm him - a fierce new something thafsen^ 
the sw.ft red to his neck and br^w He ra sed 
a de tennmed hand to the doorknob -he S 
something to say to that woman !_ when tS 
door suddenly opened again from theTns dV 

hung.^ n, give you some^Sd b ^70: 
around to the back porch and I'll g't ("t fn 
you." And she shut the door again '""' 
Dav.d s hand dropped to his side. The red 
t.l stayed on his face and neck, however and 

reiuse to take food from this woman. ... But 

33 



JUST D'.VID 

there was his father- his poor father, who 
was so tired; and there was his own stomach 
clamoring to be fed. fjo, he could not refuse. 
And with slow steps and hanging head David 
went around the corner of the house to the rear. 
As the half-loaf of bread and the pail of milk 
were placed in his hands, David remembered 
suddenly that in the village store on the moun- 
tain, his father paid money for his food. David 
was glad, now, that he had those gold-pieces in 
his pocket, for he could pay money. Instantly 
his head came up. Once more erect with self- 
respect, he shifted his burdens to one hand and 
thrust the other into his pocket. A moment 
later he presented on his outstretched pahn a 
shining disk of gold. 

"Will you take this, to pay, please, for the 
bread and milk?" he asked proudly. 

The woman began to shake her head; but, as 
her eyes fell on the money, she started, and 
bent closer to exar-ine it. The next instant she 
jerked herself upright with an angry exclama- 
tion. 

"It's gold! A ten-dollar gold-piece! So 
you're a thief, too, are you, as well as a tramp? 
Humph! Well, I guess you don't need this, 
a4 



THE TRAIL 

A thief! David knew little of thieves hi.t h» 

caDin and he was a thief, the milk-bc said 
David flushed now again, angrily, as he faced 

turned and ran to his father 

So urgent was the bov's voirp fhot „i 
unconsciously the sick man S to tis^"* 
With shaking hands he thrust the notes hetd 
been writing into his pocket The Sttl k t 

SaUistr''"^''«^-''-^«dinto''the 

"Yes son. yes, we'll go," muttered the man 
Ifeel better now. I can -walk" 
And he did walk, though very slowly ten a 



f( if 



I 



"IK 



JUST DAVID 

"Hullo, there! Going to the village?" called 
a voice. 

"Yes, sir." David's answer was unhesitat- 
ing. Where "the village "was, he did not know; 
he knew only that it must be somewhere away 
from the woman who had called him a thief. 
And that was all he eared to know. 

"I'm going 'most there myself. Want a 
lift?'" asked the man, still kindly. 

"Yes, sir. Thank you!" cried the boy joy- 
fully. And together they aided his father to 
climb into the roomy wagon-body. 

There were few words said. The man at the 
rems drove rapidly, and paid little attention to 
anythmg but his norses. The sick man dozed 
and rested. The boy sat, wistful-eyed and si- 
lent, watching the trees and houses flit by. 
The sun had long ago net, but it was not dark, 
for the moon was round and bri«.. and the 
sky was cloudless. Where the road forked 
sharply the man drew his horses to a stop. 

"Well, I'm sorry, but I guess I'll have to 
drop you here, friends. I turn off to the right; 
but 't ain't more'n a quarter of a mile for you' 
now," he fmished cheerily, pointing with his 
whip to a cluster of twinkling lights. 

36 



THE TRAIL 

stores di5t?„'^ p ?ir?K''^' ""'^ •" 
as a thief f '^^^ °"'''"'^' "' ^™nded one 

the nixrht? pS' ?^ /' ''"'"'^ ^^ey go for 
far. Tlr^Z t "t ?" """^ "° '-^"^ 
half-finished Xncls that'D? •h'""' ~ '""' 
und««tand and thl? ,^^"^ '=°"W "ot 

Th«. was ; ho"use t Lr :'^, ^-"^led hin,. 
down the road toward ,h. n "^^"^^ "'''«" 
had had all the I^er^. u^^''' ''"^ °«^<J 

ni«htwithstra„;ir;ra"d':, "^"'^'^ '"^^ 
There was a barn a hL ^"''.^'^ange women. 

of all; and it was 'towLTh' t''' ^^^ "^^'^s' 

fina.y turned hl^;:SX^^^^^^-^^ 

propr;dsrfti;"?:^r;:.;;7-y 

rest." ^ ^'''^^"^tay all night and 



CHAPTER III 



THE VAIXEY 



The long twilight of the June day had changed 
into a night that was scarcely darker, so bright 
was the moonlight. Seen from the house, the 
barn and the low buildings beyond loomed 
shadowy and unreal, yet very beautiful. On 
the side porch of the house sat Simeon Holly 
and his wife, content to rest mind and body 
only because a full day's wor' lay well done 
behind liiem. 

It was just as Simeon rose to his feet to go 
indoors that a long note from a violin reached 
their ears. 

"Simeon!" cried the woman. "What was 
that?" 

The man did not answer. His eyes were fixed 
on the bam. 

"Simeon, it's a fiddle!" exclaimed Mrs. 
Holly, as a second tone quivered on the air. 
"And it's in our bam!" 

Simeon's jaw set. With a stem ejaculation 
he crossed the porch and entered the kitchen. 
aS 



THE VALLEY 

In another minute he had returned, a lighted 
lantern in his hand. 

tr«jiulou,ly. "You - you don't know whafs 

ElZ"'"? f! ."^' P'^^''" ^'"'''"t hands. 
Ellen, retorted the man severely. "Would you 
have me go to bed and leave a half-drunken 

ban,? To-n.ght on my way home. I passed a 
pretty pa.r of them lying by the roadside - a 
man and a boy. with two violins. They're the 
culpnts. likely. -though how they ^ this 
far. I don't see. Do you think I want Sleave 
my bam to tramps like them?" 

„,o?^~ T ' '"PP"^ "°*'" ^«"«'-ed the wo- 
Z2 ^J, K u""* tremblingly to her feet, and 
followed her husband's shadow across the yard 
Owe in«de the barn Simeon Holly and his 
nillf!!!^ ^voluntarily. The music was all 
about them now. filling the air with runs and 
tnlls and rollicking bits of melody. Giving an 
angry exclamation, the man turned then to the 
narrow stairway and climbed to the hayloft 
above. At h.s heels came his wife, and so her 
eyes, ahnost as soon as his. fell upon the man 
39 



11 



JUST DAVID 

lying back on the hay with the moonlight full 
upon his face. 

Instantly the music dropped to a whisper, 
and a low voice came out of the gloom beyond 
the square of moonUght which came from the 
window in the roof. 

"If you'll please be as still as you can, sir. 
You see he's asleep and he's so tired," said the 
voice. 

For a moment the man and the woman on 
the stairway paused in amazement, then the 
man lifted his lantern and strode toward the 
voice. 

"Who are you? What are you doing here?" 
he demanded sharply. 

A boy's face, round, tanned, and just now a 
bit anxious, flashed out of the dark. 

"Oh, please, sir, if you would speak lower," 
pleaded the boy. "He's so tired! I'm David, 
sir, and that's father. We came in here to rest 
and sleep." 

Simeon Holly's unrelenting gaze left the 
boy's face and swept that of the man lying 
back on the hay. The next instant he lowered 
the lantern and leaned nearer, putting forth a 
cautious hand. At once he straightened him- 
3o 



THE VALLEY 

breath. Then he turned with the angry ques- 

"Boy, what do you mean by playing a iic on 
your fiddle at such a time as this^" ^ ^ 

the boy cheerily. "He said he could walk 
through green forests then, with the ripple of 

squirrr-" ""' "' ''^' '"^ ^'•''^^ ^^ ^he 

H^i'f ''^^"'^' ^''^' ''''° ^'■*= y°"^" <="t in Simeon 
Holly sternly. "Where did you come from?" 
rrom home, sir." 
"Where is that?" 

"Why, home, sir, where I live. In the moun- 
tams way up, up, up -oh. so far up! And 
there s such a big, big sky, so much nicer than 
down here." The boy's voice quivered, and S^ 
most broke, and his eyes constantly sought the 
white face on the hay. 

It was then that Simeon Holly awoke to the 
sudden realization that it was time for action 
He turned to his wife. 

"Take the boy to the house." he directed 
mcsively. "We'll have to keep him to-night I 
suppose. I'll go for Higgins. Of course the 
3x 



■h I 't| 



JUST DAVID 
whole thing wiU have to be put in his hands at 
oBce. You can't do anything here." he added, 
as he caught her questioning glance. "Leave 
everything just as it is. The man is dead." 

"Dead?" It was a sharp cry from the boy, 
yet there was more of wonder than of terror in 
It. "Do you mean that he has gone — like the 
water in the brook — to the lar country?" he 
faltered. 

Simeon Holly stared. Then he said more 
distinctly: — 

"Your father is dead, boy." 

"And he won't come back any more?" 
David's voice broke now. 

There was no answer. Mrs. Holly caught her 
breath convulsively and looked away. Even 
Simeon Holly refused to meet the boy's plead- 
ing eyes. 

With a quick cry David sprang to his father's 
side. 

"But he's here— right here," he challenged 
shnlly. "Daddy, daddy, speak to me! It's 
David!" Reaching out his hand, he gently 
touched his father's face. He drew back then, 
at onee, his eyes distended with terror. "He 
is n't! He is — gone," he chattered frenziedly 

33 



t 

I- I 



THE VALLEY 

theydid A^drmTf'"'* "' *•" ^<1 that 
Listen - ir. thS rln *'™°^'' '° ^'^ ^^'^J 

washing of pots and nancl ^ '^'' ^'^ 

scene like ms~tZ'lf'f''^'''^''^fora 



1 1^1 



i 



JUST DAVID 

his violin, and followed the woman, who, with 
tear-blinded eyes, was leading the way down 
the stairs. 

Mrs. Holly was frightened, but she was 
also strangely moved. From the long ago the 
sound of another violin had come to her — a 
violin, too, played by a boy's hands. But of 
this, all this, Mrs. Holly did not like to think. 

In the kitchen now she turned and faced her 
young guest. 
"Are you hungry, little boy?" 
David hesitated; he had not forgotten the 
woman, the milk, and the gold-piece. 

"Are you hungry — dear?" stammered 
Mrs. Holly again; and this time David's clam- 
orous stomach forced a "yes" from his unwill- 
ing lips; which sent Mrs. Holly at once into the 
pantry for bread and milk and a heaped-up 
plate of doughnuts such as David had never 
seen before. 

Like any hungry boy David ate his supper; 
and Mrs. Holly, in the face of this very ordi- 
nary sight of hunger being appeased at her 
table, breathed more freely, and ventured to 
think that perhaps this strange little boy was 
not so very strange, after all. 
34 



Hi! 



THE VALLEY 

toirthln''°"''"^«^"«''e found courage 
"David." 
"David what?" 
"Just David " 

tain wh:L^Tante'.'Sr' 7^ ^''^-- 
you know." ^ ^''^"' ^^•'^ every day. 

;;But you did n't live there alone?" 
Oh. no; with father — before h 
away," faltered the boy ^^ ~ ^^"t 

'^rrV!!''^'^^''-^^"herlip. 

houses butVursT'shrr" '""''^ "° "^her 
"No. ma'am" ^''^ ^'^'"'"-ed. 

'•oryn'^h"'""*'."--^"^^-?" 

__^ii, yes, m lather's pocket." 
Your mother ~ in your father's pocvte// " 

DavidtttlS^^^--^'"^^- 
plained. '"'" '"P"«ed as he ex- 

"You don't understand. She is an angel- 
35 



111 ^"^^' 



JUST DAVID 
mother, and angel-mothers don't have any- 
thing only their pictures down here with us. 
And that's what we have, and father always 
carried it in his pocket." 

"Oh — h," murmured Mrs. Holly, a quick 
mist in her eyes. Then, gently: "And did you 
always live there — on the mountain?" 
" Six years, father said." 
"But what did you do all day? Were n't you 
ever — lonesome?" 
"Lonesome?" The boy's eyes were puzzled. 
"Yes. Didn't you miss things — people, 
other houses, boys of your own age, and — and 
such things?" 
David's eyes widened. 
"Why, how could I?" he cried. "When I 
had daddy, and my violin, and my Silver Lake, 
and the whole of the great big woods with 
everything in them to talk to, and to talk 
to me?" 

"Woods, and things in them to — to talk to 
you!" 

"Why, yes. It was the little brook, you 
know, after the squirrel, that told me about 
being dead, and — " 

"Yes, yes; but never mind, dear, now," 
36 



THE VALLEY 

thought. "You V ''"'t^"^' a^ter all. she 
Have n't you a ITC "^""'^ «° *° ''^f- 

apologetically. "Yousee wlh T^'^ °"^'^ 
that it got too hel" TcJ^'^i: ""J^ '* 
bring it." ^- S° ^^e did n't 

"Somuchinitvoudirfn't K,- x . 
repeated Mr, uli . ^™^ '*• '"deed !" 

"« n«!d." ^. tolshed feebly "" ™ 



ui .'11 



JUST DAVID 

In a snug little room oVer the kitchen some 
minutes later, David found himself at last 
alone. The roo.n. though it had once belonged 
to a boy of his own age, looked very strange to 
David. On the floor was a rag-carpet rug, the 
first he had ever seen. On the walls were a fish- 
ing-rod, a toy shotgun, and a case full of bugs 
and moths, each little body impaled on a pin, to 
David's shuddering horror. The bed had four 
tall posts at the comers, and a very puffy top 
that filled Dav' 1 with wonder as to how he 
was to reach it, or stay there if he did gain it. 
Across a chair lay a boy's long yellov/-white 
nightshirt that the kind lady had left, after 
hurriedly wiping her eyes with the edge of its 
hem. In all the circle of the candlelight there 
was just one famihar object to David's home- 
sick eyes — the long black violin case which he 
had brought in himself, and which held his 
beloved violin. 

With his back carefully turned toward the 
impaled bugs and moths on the wall, David 
undressed himself and slipped into the yellow- 
white nightshirt, which he sniffed at gratefully, 
so like pine woods was the perfume that hung 
about its folds. Then he blew out the candle 
38 



THE VALLEY 

th-«rrS^:;ti::^ ecu. .e seen 
outside. From Ihe^^h,'^'' °^ "'^ tree 
of wheels, and 2?e„^, ''"'^ came the sound 
came also the tS ^fl ? ^°''=«*- There 
hunting hands, and the tit™,*'"™^ ''^ 
feet. In the window Aavii ? "'/huflling 
were no wide sweeo of n,7 , ''^'^^- There 
iey. no Silver Uke^n "sSf h'"' **"' ^^- 
- no beautiful Th „«" that w ^^' "° '^^^'^y- 
only the dreary. hoS 1 ^ "*• ^^^'^ ^^s 
they had Become """"^ "^ '''e Things 

Long minutes later. David with th • .■ 
his arms. lay down unnn Ti, '''^ ^'°"n in 

fi"t time since bZrH ^«' ""''• ^^^ the 
s'eep-but i was a s?i T^ ''^^'^ to 
"•est; for in it hfdre Jed thil'n '"'"«''' "«> 
white-winged moth S whh '"'^ ' ^* 
ink-black sky. *'*'' ^ star to an 



CHAPTER IV 



Ih 



I' 



TWO LETTERS 

In the early gray dawn David awoke. His 
u. «t sensation was the physical numbness and 
stiffness that came from hij hard bed on the 
floor. 

"Why, daddy," he began, pulling himself 
half-erect, " I slept all night on—" He stopped 
suddenly, brushing his eyes with the backs of 
his hands. "Why, daddy, where—" Then 
full consciousness came to him. 

With a low cry he sprang to his feet and ran 
to the window. Through the trees he could see 
the sunrise glow of the eastern sky. Down in 
the yard no on- was in sight; but the barn door 
was open, an', ^ith a quick indrawing of his 
breath, Davi i turned back into the room and 
began to thrust himself into his clothing. 

The pold in his sagging pockets clinked and 
jingled musically; and once half a dozen pieces 
rolled out upon the floor. For a moment the 
boy looked as if he were going to let them re- 
main where they were. But the next minute, 
4o 



TWO LETTERS 

"fencing their SitPu^^^^^^^ 

Once dressed dVZ picked' h —':::''''''• 
stepped softly into the hail A?r" '"°"" ""'^ 
reached his ears thin r ^' ''"' "° '^^^d 

came the cS'ofrrSt'td ^^ ''?°^ 
tins and crockery S \ -^ '''* ""^"'^ "^ 
violin. Da^d sH^nl.* r* *"' "^'"^P °" 'he 

stairs^ndTut Xrt w"" ?^ '^^'^ 
seconds then before he was hu^ °"X ' ^'^ 
the open doorway of the barn aX' th "'"*' 
row stairway to the loft above "^ ^' ""'■ 

turned to see a k^dlw 5 "''^^ '"°'"«°t he 

hi^f.™th:uroiTh::^3ir'^^^^^ 

have°J;fdotTitIhtT^^ 

ve^'^bSStf;^"""'^^^-- 

"Yes, yes. I'm David. But where is he - 



t J 



ill 



JUST DAVID 

my father, you know? I mean the — the part 
he — he left behind him?" choked the boy. 
"The part like — the ice-coat?" 

The man stared. Then, involuntarily, he 
began to back away. 

"Well, ye see, I — I — " 

"But, maybe you don't know," interrupted 
David feverishly. "You aren't the man I saw 
last night. Who are you? Where is he — the 
other one, please?" 

"No, I — I wa' n't he^e — that is, not at the 
first," spoke up the man quickly, still uncon- 
sciously backing away. "Me — I 'm only Lar- 
son, Perry Larson, ye know. 'T was Mr. Holly 
you see last night — him that I works for." 

"Then, where is Mr. Holly, please?" faltered 
the boy, hurrying toward the barn door. "May- 
be he would know — about father. Oh, there 
he is!" And David ran out of the barn and 
across the yard to the kitchen porch. 

It was an unhappy ten minutes that David 
spent then. Besides Mr. Holly, there were 
Mrs. Holly, and the man. Perry Larson. And 
they all talked. But little of what they said 
could David understand. To none of his ques- 
tions could he obtain an answer that satisfied. 
4a 



l\ 



TWO LETTERS 

Neither, on his j nt. ou\d he seem to reply to 
their quesuons in a way that pleased them 

Mrs Holly, and the man, Peny Larson. Thev 
asSK°"'n '° «°-"' '«^'. Mrs Holy 

if voull ^°" ^"'^ '""''''= ^''^ '•^'her not. 
himL^r'i ^~"°' "°*" Then he dropped 
himself down on the steps to think. As ff he 
could M/-with that great choking lump in 
h.s throat that refused to he swallowed" '^ 

fhr5 i '..^""'^ "°^ ^l»'»t "«ver again in 
this world wouW he see his dear father, or hea^ 
him speak. This much had been made ve% 

this should be so. or what his father would 
want h.m to do. he could not seem told out 
Not unt.l now had he realized at all what tWs 
gomg away of his father was to mean to him 
And he told himself frantically that he couTd 
not have it so. He could not la J it sol f.t 
even as he said the words, he knew that t was 
so — irrevocably so. 

David began then to long for his mountain 
home. There at least he would have his deTr 
43 



::! 



JUST DAVID 
forest all about him, with the birds and the 
squirrels and the friendly little brooks. There 
he would have his Silver Lake to look at, too, 
and all of them would speak to him of his 
father. He believed, indeed, that up there it 
would almost seem as if his father were really 
with him. And, anyway, if his father ever 
should come back, it would be there that he 
would be sure to seek him — up there in the 
httle mountain home so dear to them both. 
Back to the cabin he would go now, then. Yes; 
indeed he would! 

With a low word and a passionately intent 
expression. David got to his feet, picked up his 
violin, and hurried, firm-footed, down the 
driveway and out upon the main highway, 
turning in the direction from whence he had 
come with his father the night before. 

The Hollys had just finished breakfast when 
Higgins, the coroner, drove into the yard ac- 
companied by William Streeter, the town's 
most prominent farmer, — and the most mis- 
erly one, if report was to be credited. 

"Well, could you get anything out of the 
boy?" demanded Higgins, without ceremony, 



TWO LETTERS 

Where is he now?" 

utes ago Simeon Holly looked about him a 
bit mipatiently. * 

for S!"'"''"''''^^^^- I •-«««* a letter 

"A letterl" exclaimed Simeon Holly and 
Larson m amazed unison. 

"Yes. Found it in his father's pocket » 
n^ded the coroner, with all the tant£g 
mZ? . ', '""' ^''^ ^"°^« he has a choicf 

It s addressed to 'My boy David.' so I cl 

a. a ed we'd better give it to him fu;t ^ bout 

readmg t. seemg it's his. After he reads it 

hough I want to see it. I want to see if what 

:th:ronei:?^"^^^^''^^"«'^--"-hanS 

chZslgl'" °"'" "'='^™^^ *^^ --'^ 
"Oh. yes. there's another one." spoke up 
WUham Streeter tersely. "And I've rL it- 
45 



JUST DAVID 

all but the scrawl at the end. There could n't 
anybody read that!" 
Higgins laughed. 

"Well, I'm free to confess 'tis a sticker — 
that name," he admitted. "And it's the name 
we want, of course, to tell us who they are— 
since it seems the boy don't know, from what 
you said last night. I was in hopes, by this 
morning, you'd have found out more from 
him." 
Simeon Holly shook hip head. 
" 'T was impossible." 

"Gosh! I should say 'twas," cut in Perry 
Larson, with emphasis. "An' queer ain't no 
name for it. One minute he'd be talkin' good 
conunon sense like anybody: an' the next he'd 
be chatterin' of coats made o' ice, an' birds an' 
squirrels an' babbling brooks. He sure is dippy ! 
Listen. He actually don't seem ter know the 
diff'rence between hisself an' his fiddle. We 
was tryin' ter find out this mornin' what he 
could do, an' what he wanted ter do, when if he 
did n't up an' say that his father told him it 
did n't make so much diff'rence what he did so 
long as he kept hisself in tune an' didn't strike 
false notes. Now, what do yer think o' that?" 
46 



TWO LETTERS 
'■Yes. I know." nodded Higgins musingly. 
There was something queer about them, and 
they weren't just ordinary tramps. Did teU 
you? I overtook them last night away up o„ 
the Fairbanks road by the Taylor place and I 
gave em a lift. I particularl/notLT;;;? a 
de ent sort they were. They were clean and 
quiet-spoken, and their clothes were good, even 
If they were rough. Yet they did n't hav^ any 
baggage but them fiddles." ^ 

"But what was that second letter you men- 
tioned?" asked Simeon Holly. 

Higgins smiled oddly, and reached into his 
pocket. "* 

letZ "' h "''l^''' T ''' ^^'•="'"« ^° "-^^d the 

S '" • '' ^' ^'"'^''^ °^«r « bit of 

lolded paper. 

Simeon took it gingerly and examined it 
I was a leaf torn apparently from a note- 

the / 7':/°''^' ^'"^^ "■"««• ^"d bore Z 
the outside the superscription "To whom it 
may concern." The handwriting was peculiar 
irregular and not very legible. But as near as 
It could be deciphered, the note ran thus: — 

Now that the time has come when I must cive D, 
vid back to the world. I have set out fonhft purpose: 
4? 





aa 


li 


■ 


1 


1 



I 



JUST DAVID 

But I am m — very ill, and should Death have 
swifter feet than I, I must leave my task for others to 
complete. Deal gently with him. He knows only that 
which is good and beautiful. He knows nothing of sin 
nor evil. 

Then followed the signature — a thing of 
scrawls and flourishes that conveyed no sort of 
meaning to Simeon Holly's puzzled eyes. 

"Well?" prompted Higgins expectantly. 

Simeon Holly shook his head. 

"I can make little of it. It certainly is a 
most remarkable note." ' 

"Could you read the name?" 

"No." 

"Well, I couldn't. Neither could half a 
dozen others that's seen it. But where 's the 
boy? Mebbe his note '11 talk sense." 

"I'll go find him," volunteered Larson. 
"He must be somewheres 'round." 

But David was very evidently not "some- 
wheres 'round." At least he was not in the barn, 
the shed, the kitchen bedroom, nor anywhere 
else that Larson looked; and the man was just 
coming back with a crestfallen, perplexed frown, 
when Mrs. Holly hurried out on to the porch. 
"Mr. Higgins," she cried, in obvious ex- 
48 



'.]}' 



TWO LETTERS 

hir ri 'SZT '" ^"'^ '^'^P''°-«l that 
that ftl f u^' ^"'t telephoned /,er that 
thamue tramp boy with the violin is at her 

thl'f^* M°|«e'sf» exclaimed Higgins. "Whv 
that 's a mile or more from here." ^' 

mem, to thai melobed cabin on the mountain 

-aSiiSr""" ''"-«""•'- 
"Where is he now?" demanded Higgins 

?o eat I'^'h , ^"'^ ^° ^^"J time getting him 

v^th iim Th !.'''\'' '° ''""^ ^''^t *« do 
Se C \/ '"'^^ ''^^ telephoned your 

4o 



'i 
'1 



ill 



^ I 



JUST DAVID 

"Yes, of course. Well, tell her to tell him to 
come back." 

"Mollie said she tried to have him come 
back, but that he said, no, thank you, he'd 
rather not. He was going home where his 
father could find him if he should ever want 
him. Mr. Higgins, we — we can't let him go off 
like that. Why, the child would die up there 
alone in those dreadful woods, even if he could 
get there in the first pjace — which I very 
much doubt." 

"Yes, of course, of course," muttered Hig- 
gins, with a thoughtful frown. "There's his 
letter, too. Say!" he added, brightening, 
"what '11 you bet that letter won't fetch him? 
He seems to think the world and all of his 
daddy. Here," he directed, turning to Mrs. 
Holly, "you tell my wife to tell — better yet, 
you telephone Mollie yourself, please, and tell 
her to tell the boy we've got a letter here for 
him from his father, and he can have it if he'll 
come back." 

" I will, I will," called Mrs. Holly, over her 
shoulder, as she hurried into the house. In an 
unbeUevably short time she was back, her face 
beaming. 

So 



TWO LETTERS 
"He's started, so soon." she nodded. "He's 
crazy with joy. MoUie said. He even left part 
of his breakfast, he was in such a hurry So I 
guess we'll see him all right." 

kZ^^' ^'';/''" '«« ^^ all right." echoed 
Simeon Holly gnmly. "But that isn't tell- 
ing what we'll do with him when we do see 
nim. 

"Oh. well, maybe this letter of his will helo 

us out on that." suggested Higgins soothingly 

Anyhow, even if it does n't. I 'm not worrying 

any I guess some one will want him - a good 

healthy boy like that." 

"Did you find any money on the body''" 
asked Streeter. 

"A little change - a few cents. Nothing to 
count If the boy's letter does n't tell us whe e 
any of their folks are. it'll be up to the town t^ 
bury him all right." 

"He had a fiddle, did n't he? And the boy 
had one too. Would n't they bring anything?" 
^Streeter s round blue eyes gleamed shrewdly. 
Higgms gave a slow shake of his head 
Maybe -if there was a market for 'em 
But who d buy 'em? There ain't a soul in town 
plays but Jack Gurnsey; and he's got one 
5i 



III 



I ^1 



K) 1 Ifllftl 






JUST DAVID 
Besides, he's sick, and got ail he can do to buy 
bread and butter for him and his sister without 
taking in more fiddles, I guess. He would n't 
buy 'em." 

"Hm — m; maybe not, maybe not," grunted 
Streeter. "An', as you say, he's the only one 
that's got any use for 'em here; an' like enough 
they ain't worth much, anyway. So I guess 't is 
up to the town all right." 

"Yes; but — if yer'U take it from me," — 
interrupted Larson, — "you'll be wise if ye 
keep still before the boy. It's no use askin' him 
any thin'. We've proved that fast enough. 
An' if he once turns 'round an' begins ter ask 
you questions, yer done fori" 

" I guess you 're right," nodded Higgius, with 
a quizzical smile. "And as long as questioning 
can't do any good, why, we'll just keep whist 
before the boy. Meanwhile I wish the little 
rascal would hurry up and get here. I want to 
see the inside of that letter to him. I 'm relying 
on that being some help to unsnarl this tangle 
of telling who they arp." 

"Well, he's startt reiterated Mrs. Holly, 
as she turned back ini, the house; "so I guess 
he'll get here if you wait long enough." 



TWO LETTERS 

The twon^en in rCnttSTher!"'- 
more comfortaWv in ,.*i ^"'*^ ^''^mselves 
Larson, after ah«Tf '^^^'' ^""^ P^Ty 

glance at hi emDW;T^ half-apologeui 
the bottom stenr* '^"'^^'^ '^^^'^ ""to 

-t <io:rjZin7z"s:^ '^n^'^^^^ 

Simeon Holly never "Ln h .^"''^ '^''"• 
where. Indeed 7r7 J '^^ ^"^^" any- 
there wer^ a htfC?* 'f ^^-^ La-n. 'if 
Holly found itland cidit %. T '™^°" 
this morning, he Jad tl '^ ^' ^^'* *^»t' 
allowing. theVcred Ite" 'th'l "" ^'"' 
tobethusinterrupted forn„.v ''^^ " ^^'''^ 
ant than the ewectPH ! , '"«'"°'' ™Port- 

chin. was somSn« ir^' °' ' ''*™"'''« "'" 
believed had he nofse^^V^-'d ""' ''^^^ 
consciousonceor twiceof In ? "°^ '"^ ^^« 

V'li, where is it. nleaw'f" i,„ . , ""^^ay. 
53 



iilil 



Mli 



JUST DAVID 

"You're right, sonny; we have. And here it 
is," answered Higgins promptly, holding out 
the folded paper. 

Plainly eager as he was, David did not open 
the note till he had first carefully set down the 
case holding his vioUn; then he devoured it with 
eager eyes. 

As he read, the four men watched his face. 
They saw first the quick tears that had to be 
blinked away. Then they saw the radiant glow 
that grew and deepened until the whole boyish 
face was aflame with the splendor of it. They 
saw the shining wonder of his eyes, too, as he 
looked up from the letter. 

"And daddy wrote this to me from the far 
country?" he breathed. 

Simeon Holly scowled. Larson choked over a 
stifled chuckle. William Streeter stared and 
shrugged his shoulders; but Higgins flushed a 
dull red. 

"No, sonny," he stammered. "We found it 
on the — er — I mean, it — er — your father 
left it in his pocket for you," finished the rnan, 
a little explosively. 

A swift shadow crossed the boy's face. 

"Oh, I hoped I'd heard — " he began. Then 
54 



TWO LETTERS 

.udde^fy he stopped, hia face once mo« alight 

But It « 'most the same as if he wrote it fr„» 

there, s n't it? He left it tZ f '™™ 

me what to do." °' ™' ""** '>«' t°W 

"What's that, what's that?" cripH h.„^ 
instantly alert "nwi, .11 *^""' ™88>ns. 
Then lit •• K •. ''*' '"" y°" *»»«* to do? 
ilJ ! "'"' '^' ""^ "«'" know. You will let 
us read it. won't you, boy?" "* 

"Why. y — yes," stanunered David holriin- 

"Th'T"' »"' '^"'' ^^'''-^ reluct'an: * 

forthfnt"""' "'^''^''"^-.-he.rched 

much, though it was efsily r^ld ^i hhletter'' 

i^^'^d^^LraTrti^v?^^^"^ 

thoughtrortheM^^iirt^ufdrd? 
It was written on two of the noteho«W° ? 

andattheendca^ethe^'^rrr-Dir;^^^ 
Srieve me. I shall JiZZ but'som?/"' "*"' ""' 

beauuful world. David; nLr f^^^ef [hTj^'Ll'if 
65 



f 

If: 






JUST DAVID 

•ometime you are tempted to think it ii not a bMuUful 
world, just remember that you yourself can make it 
beautiful if you will. 

You are among new faces, surrounded by things and 
people that are strange to you. Some of them you will 
not understand; some of them you may not like. But 
do not fear, David, and do not plead to go back to 
the hiUs. Remember this, my boy, — in your violin 
lie all the things you long for. You have only to play, 
and the broad skies of your mountain home will be 
over you, and the dear friends and comrades of your 
mountain forests will be about you. 

Daddy. 



"Gorry! that's worse than the other," 
groaned Higgins, when he had finished the note. 
"There's actually nothing in it! Would n't you 
think — if a man wrote anything at such a 
time — that he'd 'a' wrote something that had 
some sense to it — something that one could 
get hold of, and find out who the boy is?" 

There was no answering this. The assembled 
men could only grunt and nod in agreement, 
which, after all, was no real help. 



CHAPTER V 

DISCORDS 

Jrea'ti^f/^L!"""^ ^ ^"^^ "°»y'» bam 
created a deeded stir in the village of Hinsdale. 

F,J'Z ^"^ "r,^"''" °ne for many reasons. 

u knew boys, but it felt inclined to change its 
mincl after seeing this one. Second, becaui o 

1^ freely ol his havi., ^wc. <.. pair a 

lift on that very evenin? d,d ,ha !.-,;tate to 

declare that he did not b^iio . h..,, , ;,^!^ 

nary tramps at all. r i o, orai- 

As there had been little ior ,.j i.. :;:c aead 
nm s pockets, save the two notes, and as no- 
body could be found who wanted the violins 

I^'l^^'"''' '° ^ °°''^'"8 t° do but to turn 
the body over to the town for burial. Nothing 
w^ said of this to David; indeed, as little af 
po^ible was sa,d to David about anything 

h.s father's letter. At that time the men had 
67 



JUST DAVID 
made one more effort to "get track of some- 
thing," as Higgins had despairingly put it. 
But the boy's answers to their questions were 
anything but satisfying, anything but helpful, 
and were often most disconcerting. The boy 
was, in fact, regarded by most of the men, after 
that morning, as being "a little off"; and was 
hence let severely alone. 

Who the man was the town authorities 
certainly did not know, neither could they 
apparently find out. His name, as written by 
himself, was unreadable. His notes told noth- 
ing; his son could tell Uttle more — of conse- 
quence. A report, to be sure, did come from the 
vill ?•: far up the mountain, that such a man 
and boy had lived in a hut that was ahnost in- 
accessible; but even this did not help solve the 
mystery. 

David was left at the Holly farmhouse, 
though Simeon Holly mentally declared that 
he should lose no time in looking about for 
some one to take the boy away. 

On that first day Higgins, picking up the 
reins preparatory to driving from the yard, 
had said, with a nod of his head toward 
David : — 

58 



!! 



Ill 



DISCORDS 
"Well, how about it. Holly? Shall we leave 
hun^here till we find somebody tu::lZ: 

"Why y_ yes, I suppose so." hesitated 
Simeon Holly, with uncordial accent. 

But his wife, hovering in the background 
hastened forward at once. K^ouna. 

"Oh. yes; yes, indeed." she urged "I'm 
surehe_he won't beamite of trouble. sL 

dJw'''^lT'"."°''''^'^ ^™«°° Holly 
darkly. Neither, it ,s safe to say. will he he 

anythmg else - worth anything." ^ 

his s^a?'in ilr'"^'" 'P"*^^ "P ^'''''''' fro-" 
ms seat m the wagon, "if i thought he'd be 

worth his salt. now. I'd take him myself ;bSj 
- well look at him this minute," he fini hed 
with a disdainful shrug "nished, 

saTd^SS t"""«.^. "°^^ "^ -hat was^bdng 
said. With his sensitive face illumined, he was 
again poring over his father's letter 

Something in the sudden quiet cut through 
his absorption as the noisy hum of voices S 
no been able to do. and he raised Jihead 
His eyes were starlike. 



iiJ . 



JUST DAVID 

" I'm so glad father told me what to do," he 
breathed. "It'll be easier now." 

Receiving no answer from the somewhat 
awkwardly silent men, he went on, as if in ex- 
planation: — 

"You know he's waiting for me — in the far 
country, I mean. He said he was. And when 
you've got somebody waiting, you don't mind 
staying behind yourself for a little while. 
Besides, I've got to stay to find out about the 
beautiful world, you know, so I can tell him, 
when / go. That's the way I used to do back 
home on the mountain, you see, — tell him 
about things. Lots of days we'd go to walk; 
then, when we got home, he'd have me tell 
him, with my violin, what I'd seen. And now 
he says I 'm to stay here." 

"Here!" It was the quick, stem voice of 
Simeon Holly. 

"Yes," nodded David earnestly; "to learn 
about the beautiful world. Don't you remem- 
ber? And he said I was not to want to go back 
to my mountains; that I would not need to, 
anyway, because the mountains, and the sky, 
and the birds and squirrels and brooks are 
really in my violin, you know. And — " But 
60 






J 



13i '^^^HM* 



DISCORDS 
with an angry frown Simeon Holly stalked 
away motioning Lan«,n to foUow UTS 

yard. A moment later David found himself 
alone with Mrs. Holly, who was looking at h^ 
"" n^r^i though slighUy fearfultr 

!nl^ i T"*'^' '"^'■""S* «s she had re- 
sorted the mght before, to the eveiyday thii^s 
of her world in the hope that they might 2e 

;ti:sar''°^--^'--^'^-^-e 

asked '^ho " •* *« ^« «-a tramp?" he 

"A tramp? Oh-er-why. just a-a 
tramp, stammered Mrs. Hollv "R„t t 
mind that. David. I - 1 Tuld n't tl^Z 
more about it." ^ 

"But what K a tramp?" persisted David 
a smouldenng fire beginning to showVn^i 
eyes. "Because if they meant /Aze««-" 
6i 





i 


III 


f f 


^1 




■^1 




r.'l 





■mamism'i ii.vr'fMsnHHi'' 



JUST DAVID 

"No, no, David," interrupted Mrs. Holly 
soothingly. "They never meant thieves at 
all." 

"Then, what is it to be a tramp?" 

"Why, it's just to — to tramp," explained 
Mrs. Holly desperately; — "walk along the 
road from one town to another, and — and not 
live in a house at all." 

"Oh!" David's face cleared. "That's all 
right, then. I'd love to be a tramp, and so'd 
father. And we were tramps, sometimes, too, 
'cause lots of times, in the sununer, we did n't 
stay in the cabin hardly any — just lived out 
of doors all day and all night. Why, I never 
knew really what the pine trees were saying 
till I heard them at night, lying under them. 
You know what I mean. You 've heard them, 
have n't you ? " 

" At night ? Pine trees ? " stammered Mrs. 
Holly helplessly. 

"Yes. Oh, have n't you ever heard them at 
night?" cried the boy, in his voice a very gen- 
uine sympathy as for a grievous loss. "Why, 
then, if you've only heard them daytimes, you 
don't know a bit what pine trees really are. 
But I can tell you. Listen! This is what they 
63 



^miiwmxmii:?&tis^^' 



DISCORDS 
say." finished the boy. whipping his violin 
from Its case. and. after a swift testing of the 
melo?' ^^^"^ '"'° ^ '^^''■d' haunting httle 

In tJie doorway. Mrs. HoUy, bewildered, yet 
bewitched, stood motionless, her eyes half 
fearfully, half-longingly fixed on David's glori- 
fied face. She was still in the same position 
^hen Simeon Holly came around the corner of 
the house. 

"Well. Ellen." he began, with quiet scorn, 

after a moment's stern watching of the scene 

.fore him. "have you nothing better to do 

felfowT'""""^ ''"'" '° "'''" '" '^^ '"'"^trel 
"Oh. Simeon! Why. yes. of course. I_l 
forgot -what I was doing." faltered Mrs. 
Holly, flushing guiltily from neck to brow as 
she turned and hurried into the house 

David, on the porch steps, seemed to have 
heard nothing. He was still playing, his rapt 
Saze on the distant sky-line, when Simeon 
Holly turned upon him with disapproving 

eyes. 

fi^,if o'.\""''.^°^'' "^"'^ y°" " '^"ything but 

fiddle?" he demanded. Then, as David still 

63 



;«I^BHS9^V 



JUST DAVID 

continued to play, he added sharply: "Did n't 
you hear me, boy?" 

The music stopped abruptly. David looked 
up with the slightly dazed air of one who has 
been summoned as from another world. 

"Did you speak to me, sir?" he asked. 

"I did — twice. I asked if you never did 
anything but play that fiddle." 

"You mean at home?" David's face ex- 
pressed mild wonder without a trace of anger 
or resentment. "Why, yes. of course. I could 
n't play all the time, you'know. I had to eat 
and sleep and study my books; and every day 
we went to walk — like tramps, as you can 
them," he elucidated, his face brightening with 
obvious delight at being able, for once, to ex- 
plain matters in terms that he felt sure would 
be understood. 

"Tramps, indeedl" muttered Simeon HoUy 
under his breath. Then, sharply: "Did you 
never perform any useful labor, boy? Were 
your days always spent in this ungodly idle- 
ness?" 

Again David frowned in mild wonder. 
"Oh, I was n't idle, sir. Father said I must 
never be that. He said every instrument was 
64 



DISCORDS 
needed in the great Orchestra of Life- a„H ,1, . 
I was one. you know even if i ^ ^f"- and that 
boy. And he saidTl S It ,7^°?/ ''"'" 
"y part, the hannony wodd " ."hf '^'^ "l'*" 
and — •• ^ ° " * *'e complete, 

*Yes, yes, but never mind th^t ^ 1. 
interrupted Simeon HoZ IThTZ- ^^'" 
fence. " I mean, did he LeT i ''' ™P»- 
— real work?" "^ "^ "^''*'' *' you to work 

-ddY^?h;;f2;xr"r ^«^^- ^» 

to.findit.IstLrratr^:-^ow. 

thatTC'l'jrV'^ '^•'"^ -"'^ say 

work aJut the T^use rn"" *° "°^''-«^ 
of that?" "^^ ^''^ y°" °«ver do any 

David gave a relieved laugh 

^ith father, only" Z-S f» ' '^''' ^ ''''' '^^^ 
"I'm afraid I did n't dn^ ^'^ ^'^*^"'- 

-s never as ^ e ^nd crL'aS' ^"^ '^'=°'^ 

fi-e was always spo/mgZpofafo:;^"'^''"' 
65 



JUST DAVID 

"Humph I bacon and potatoes, indeed!" 
scorned Simeon Holly. "Well, boy, we call 
that «\>Me«'!» work down here. We set men to 
sometKii^ else. Do you see that woodpile by 
the she^i door?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"Very good. In the kitchen you'll llnd an 
empty woodbox. Do you think you could fill it. 
with wood from that woodpile? You'll find 
plenty of short, small sticks already chopped." 
"Oh. yes. sir, I'd like to." nodded David, 
hastily but carefully tucking his violin into its 
case. A minute later he had attacked the wood- 
pile with a will; and Simeon Holly, after a 
sharply watchful glance, had turned away. 

But the woodbox. after all. was not filled. 
At least, it was not filled immediately; for at 
the very beginning of gathering the second 
armful of wood. David picked up a stick that 
had long lain in cne position on the ground, 
thereby disclosing sundry and diverse crawling 
things of many legs, which filled David's soul 
with delight, and drove away every thought of 
the empty woodbox. 

It was only a matter of some strength and 
more patience, and still more time, to overturn 
66 



DISCORDS 

So urgent was his nlea that Mr. u •> 
*ith hurried sleps-^b^t she w.^'. "' '"'"* 
«teps even more hurrS- and n ' T^- *'' 
back on his woodpile eat wa, Pr?. " "'"'"« 
why she should sc earn a;H !h l\ '° ^°"'^«'- 
"Ufih-h-hf" o. ! "'^ shudder and say 

Even then David did not think nf.K . 
woodbox waiting behind 1^1 /. "^^^ 
ThistimeitwasabuMp?fl ^''1.'''''^''"' stove. 
% banded wTth go,^aS'it^:'''r'''""^'•- 
tered all through the' back vard"^'"' ""*- 
the garden. David LStedwln"'^ ""' "*'^ 
soft-treading stens ^.^ ^ Wlowmq with 

not start.e;ToS,%tgrdr"*^*'"^ T'^"^ 
and from the orcha d btk "o tl^""'^'"''• 
HoHy-s pansy-bed^rn^TuSn.: 
67 



JUST DAVID 
forgotten then, for down in the path by (.he 
pansy-bed David dropped to his knees in vei^ 
itable worship. 

"Why, you're just like little people," he 
cried softly. "You've got faces; arl some of 
you are happy, and some of you are sad. And 
you — you big spotted yellow one — you're 
laughing at me. Oh, I 'm going to play you — 
all of you. You'll make such a pretty song, 
you're so different from each other!" And 
David leaped lighUy to bis feet and ran around 
to the side porch for his violin. 

Five minutes later, Simeon Holly, coming 
into the kitchen, heard the sound of a violin 
through the open window. At the same mo- 
ment his eyes fell on the woodbox, empty save 
for a few small sticks at the bottom. With an 
angry frown he strode through the outer door 
and around the comer of the house to the gar- 
den. At once then he came upon David, sitting 
Turk-fashion in the middle of the path before 
the pansy-bed, his violin at his chin, and his 
whole face aglow. 

"Well, boy, is this the way you fill the wood- 
box?" demanded the man crisply. 

David shook his head. 
68 



ft :U 



DISCORDS 

he laughed, softening his music, but not sto^ 
Pjng It. "Did you think that was what I wm 
pW It -s the flowers here that I 'm playTn" 
- the httle faces, iike people, you know, si* 
this .s that bi« yellow one over there that's 
aughmg," he Hnished. letting the music undeJ 
His fingers burst into a gay little melody 

S,n,.on Holly raised an imperious hand; and 
at the gesture David stopped his melody in the 

m.ddle of a run his eyes flying wide openin 
plain wondorment. 

healTd.™"'" ""^"'^^'"^ -"«''''" 

^■Zl.!!! ""'/""''"*' "^ y°"' P'«y'"«'" retorted 
Srnieon Holly severely. "I'm talking of that 
woodbox I asked you to fill." 

David's face cleared. 

"Oh. yes, sir. I'll go and do it." he nodded, 
getting cheerfully to his feet. 

"But I told you to do it before." 

David's eyes grew puzzled again 

w-ih t*^"!' '"'■' '•"'' ^ ^^^^ t"'" ^^ answered, 
Ir 7'°''^ P^"^"''^ °^ °"« '^ho finds him- 
self obliged to explain what should be a self- 
evident fact; "but I saw so many beauttful 
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JUST DAVID 

things, one after another, and when I found 
these funny httle flower-people I just had to 
play them. Don't you see?" 

"No, I can't say that I do, when I'd already 
told you to fill the woodbox," rejoined the man, 
with uncompromising coldness. 

"You mean — even then that I ought to 
have filled the woodbox first?" 

"I certainly do." 

David's eyes flew wide open again. 

"But my song — I'd have lost it!" he ex- 
claimed. "And father said always when a song 
came to me to play it at once. Songs are like 
the mists of the morning and the rainbows, you 
know, and they don't stay with you long. You 
just have to catch them quick, before they go. 
Now, don't you see?" 

But Simeon Holly, with a despairingly scorn- 
ful gesture, had turned away; and David, after 
a moment's following him with wistful eyes, 
soberly walked toward the kitchen door. Two 
minutes later he was industriously working at 
his task of filling the woodbox. 

That for David the affair was not satisfac- 
torily settled was evidenced by his thoughtful 
countenance and preoccupied air, however; 
70 




h 



■I i 



DISCORDS 

a discord?" ^' ^ ^^* ''^ing 

-««>. "Falher »d-" et'' •;."'•»'- 



ft 



CHAPTER VI 

NUISANCES, NECESSARY AND OTHERWISE 

For some time al,.^. dinner, that first day, 
David watched Mrs. Holly in silence while she 
cleared the table and began to wash the dishes. 

"Do you want me to — help?" he asked at 
last, a little wistfully. 

Mrs. Holly, with a dubious glance at the 
boy's brown little hands. Shook her head. 

"No, I don't. No, thank you," she amended 
her answer. 

For another sixty seconds David was silent; 
then, still more wistfully, he asked : — 

"Are all these things you've been doing all 
day 'useful labor'?" 

Mrs. Holly lifted dripping hands from the 
dishpan and held them suspended for an 
amazed instant. 

"Are they— Why, of course they are! 
What a silly question! What put that idea into 
your head, child?" 

"Mr. Holly; and you see it's so different 
from what father used to call them." 
7» 



NUISANCES 
"Different?" 

them as you do. either." ^' ""^"^ "^ 

"Nuisance, indeed!" Mr<! H^ii 
her dishwashing with snm- '^ '"^^^'^^d 

should think that mthrh T'^' "'^«"' ^ 
like him." *''' '''"'* ^««" just about 

nodTed'DarpietnZ^ T^^ ?^^ ->' •" 
ment. he queried ''R?,?^' f"' ^^'"'" ^ ">«- 
walkatalUcSay?" ""^ "^ y°" «°i"« to 
"To walk? Where?" 

^^'•Why. through the woods and fields -any- 
do!" ^' ^ ^^ 8°t something else to 

73 



V m 



JUST DAVID 

make any difference in my going to walk, I 
guess." 

"Oh, won't it?" beamed David, his face 
changing. "I'm so gladl I don't mind the 
rain, either. Father and I used to go in the 
rain lots of times, only, of course, we could n't 
take our violins then, so we used to like the 
pleasant days better. But there are some things 
you find on rainy days that you could n't find 
any other time, are n't there? The dance of the 
drops on the leaves, and the rus*^ of the rain 
when thd wind gets behind it. D I't you love 
to feel it, out in the open spaces, where the wind 
just gets a good chance to push?" 

Mrs. Holly stared. Then she shivered and 
threw up her hands with a gesture of hopeless 
abandonment. 

"Land's sake, boy!" she ejaculated feebly, 
as she turned back to her work. 

From dishes to sweeping, and from sweeping 
to dusting, hurried Mrs. Holly, going at 
last into the somber parlor, always carefully 
guarded from sun and air. Watching her, 
mutely, David trailed behind, his eyes staring 
a little as they fell upon the multit",de of 
objects that parlor contained: the haircloth 
74 



NUISANCES 
chairs, the long sofa, the marble-topped tabu 

comer sS '"" "' ''^"'^ '''°"« the 

Hniiy~/^*' ^°" "^y '^"'"e in." called Mrs 

th ttr^.^:^v; ^'^ ''-^^^""« ^°y in 

thin^.I^'goin/tlr""*"'^*'^"^''-^- 
r«n;S.lJ^:r''«^-'''^-oo'ni>efo.V 

co™ little bo?;. no?tXrrtr 

t-:nd"i^^^^^^^^^^ ^-J^ 

ily. with a quick Uk at David but tS '!,t 

not seem to have heard. *''' ^"^ '^"^ 

"And doesn't anybody live herP in ,k- 

ingly about him ' " '""'''"^ ^°"''«'- 

75 



JUST DAVID 

"No, not — now." Mrs. Holly drew in her 
breath with a Uttle catch, and glanced at the 
framed portrait of a little boy on the wall. 

"But you've got such a lot of rooms and — 
and things," remarked David. "Why, daddy 
and I only had two rooms, and not hardly any 
things. It was so — different, you know, in my 
home." 

"I should say it might have been!" Mrs. 
Holly began to dust hurriedly, but carefully. 
Her voice still carried itr hint of superiority. 

"Oh, yes," smiled David. "But you say you 
don't use this room much, so that helps." 

"Helps!" In her stupefaction Mrs. Holly 
stopped her work and stared. 

"Why, yes. I mean, you've got so many 
other rooms you can live in those. You don't 
have to live in here." 

"'Have to live in here'!" ejaculated the 
woman, still too unL«mprehending to be any- 
thing but amazed. 

"Yes. But do you have to keep all these 
things, and clean them and clean them, like 
this, every day? Could n't you give them to 
somebody, or throw them away?" 

"Throw — these — things — away!" With 
76 







^n 






ii 



"TIIKOH-IHKSK llllx,;., _ ,>,VAV ■ 



:» 



NUISANCES 

i nere was the sunnse, and the si iet and th« 

course you could not appreciate ,lh ,t 
these Thrnw *i. "J'P'^ciate such things as 
"icse. inrow them awav inrfpoHi" a j ■ 

J 1 to work again: but thi^'tre^ finge'^'et'' 
ned a so^ethuigin their touch that wafaTmost 
"Ke the caress a mother miohf k« . """osi 
aggrieved child * ' '"'^"^ "P°° «" 

getically. he explained : _ ' ^P"'**- 

77 






JUST DAVID 

" It was only that I thought if you did n't 
have to clean so many of these things, you could 
maybe go to walk more — to-day, and other 
days, you know. You said — you did n't have 
time," he reminded her. 

But Mrs. Holly only shook her head and 
sighed: — 

"Well, well, never mind, little boy. I dare 
say you meant all right. You could n't under- 
stand, of course." 

And David, after another moment's wistful 
eyeing of the caressing fingers, turned about 
and wandered out onto the side porch. A min- 
ute later, having seated himself on the porch 
steps, he had taken from his pocket two small 
pieces of folded paper. And then, through 
tear-dunmed eyes, he read once more his fa- 
ther's letter. 

"He said I must n't grieve, for that would 
grieve him," murmured the boy, after a time, 
his eyes on the far-away hills. "And he said 
if I 'd play, my mountains would come to me 
here, and I'd really be at home up there. He 
said in my violin were all those things I'm 
wanting — so bad !" 

With a Uttle choking breath, David tucked 
78 



NUISANCES 

the^note^back into his pocket and .ached for 

Some time later. Mrs. Holly, dusting the 
chairs m the parlor, stopped her work t^ptoej 
to the door and listened breathlessly When 
she turned back, still later, to her work her 
eyes were wet. 

to'iiir"''"^''^' '"''"" ^^ P'^y^' I always get 
to thinking of- John." she sighed to hersdf 
as she picked up her dusting-cloth ' 

After supper that night. Simeon Holly and 
tr/h JT '^l °" ''^ '^"'=''«" P°'-<=h. resting 

tKed th. h Tr °" '''^ ^™ °"t«"^« of 
tile shed, the barn, the road, or a passing horse 

and wagon David, sitting on the steps was 
watching the moon climb higher and higler 
above the tree-tops. After a time he slippedtto 
the house and came out with his violin 

At the first long-drawn note of sweetness 
Simeon Holly opened his eyes and sat up ste^: 
hpped. But his wife laid a timid hanJ"o?Ws 

sofUv°"'i!tV"''?"^' P'^^'^'" '^' ^"treated 

soltly. Let him play, just for to-night. He's 

lonesome -poor little fellow." And Simeon 

70 



*!l 



JUST DAVID 

Holly, with a frowning shrug of his shoulders, 
sat back in his chair. 

Later, it was Mrs. Holly herself who stopped 
the music by saying: "Come, David, it's bed- 
time for little boys. I '11 go upstairs with you." 
And she led the way into the house and 
lighted the candle for him. 

Upstairs, in the little room over the kitchen, 
David found himself once more alone. As be- 
fore, the httle yellow-white nightshirt lay over 
the chair-back; and as before, Mrs. Holly had 
brushed away a tear as she had placed it there. 
As before, too, the big four-posted bed loomed 
tall and formidable in the comer. But this 
time the coverlet and sheet were turned back 
invitingly — Mrs. Holly had been much dis- 
turbed to find that David had slept on the 
floor the night before. 

Once more, with his back carefully turned 
toward the impaled bugs and moths on the 
wall, David undressed himself. Then, before 
blowing out the candle, he went to the window, 
kneeled down, and looked up at the moon 
through the trees. 

David was sorely puzzled. He was beginning 
to wonder just what was to become of himself. 
80 



NUISANCES 
His father had said that out in the world there 
was a beauttful work for him to do; but wha" 
was It? How was he to find it? Or how was he 
to do it if he did find it? And another Thng 
where was he to live? Could he stay where he' 
was? It was not home, to be sure; but there 
was the httle room over the kitchen where he 

smiled at h.m sometimes with the sad, far-away 

look m her eyes that somehow hurt. He would 

not like. now. to leave her -with daddy gone. 

There were the gold-pieces, too; and concem- 

!h i'f .^'"'^ "^^^ "'^"^"y P"^^'ed. What 
should he do with them? He did not need them 
-the kind woman was giving him plenty of 
food so that he did not have to go to'the sLre 

21 7u\^f '^^'^ ^"^ "°t'''°« «1^. appar- 
ently, that he could use them for. They were 
heavy, and disagreeable to carry; yet he did 

in 'T. r? ^'^^'^ ^-^^- n-^ole't nybody 
know that he had them: he had been called a 
thief just for one little piece, and what would 
they say if they knew he had all those otS 
David remembered now. suddenly, that his 
father had said to hide them _ to hide them 
until he needed them. David was rel.ted a" 
8i 



I ui 



f 



JUST DAVID 

once. Why had he not thought of it before? 
He knew just the place, too, — the little cup- 
board behind the chimney there in this very 
room! And with a satisfied sigh, David got to 
his feet, gathered all the little yellow disks from 
his pockets, and tucked them well out of sight 
behind the piles of books on the cupboard 
shelves. There, too, he hid the watch; but the 
little miniature of the angel-mother he slipped 
back into one of his pockets. 

David's second morning at the farmhouse 
was not unlike the first, except that this time, 
when Simeon Holly asked him to fill the wood- 
box, David resolutely ignored every enticing 
bug and butterfly, and kept rigorously to the 
task before him until it was done. 

He was in the kitchen when, just before din- 
ner, Perry Larson came into the room with a 
worried frown on his face. 

"Mis' Holly, would ye mind just steppin' to 
the side door? There's a woman an' a httle boy 
there, an' somethin' ails 'em. She can't talk 
English, an' I'm blest if T can make head nor 
tail out of the hngo sb does talk. But maybe 
you can." 

83 



NUISANCES 
"Why. Perry. I don't know-" began Mrs 
Holly But she turned at once .owarlfL d^"' 
On the porch steps stood a very pretty but 
fnghtened-looking young woman with a boy 
perhaps ten years old at her side. Upon catch- 
.ng sight of Mrs. Holly she burst into a tSent 
of umntelhgible words, supplemented by nu- 
merous and vehement gestures 

Mrs. Holly shrank back, and cast appealing 
eyes toward her husband who at that ™? 
had come across the yard from the bam 
Simeon, can you tell what she wants?" 
At sight of the newcomer on the scene, the 

:Sty.™ •'^^^" ''^^' -^'^ -" -- 

"No." said Simeon Holly, after a moment's 
"S^^lr'7 °^''^ «-«-l«ting woman 

"Gosh! I should say she did," muttered 

tim'idT ''°" ,^""8^^" questioned Mrs. Holly 

Si^HoZ^'"'^"'"^''''"'"'^^"-^^^ 
83 



JUST DAVID 

The woman looked from one to the other 
with the piteous, pleading eyes of the stranger 
in the strange land who cannot understand or 
make others understand. She had turned away 
with a despairing shake of her head, when sud- 
denly she gave a wild cry of joy and wheeled 
about, her whole face alight. 

The HoUys and Perry Larson saw then that 
David had come out onto the porch and was 
speaking to the woman — and his words were 
just as unintelligible as tl}e woman's had been. 

Mrs. Holly and Perry Larson stared. Simeon 
Holly interrupted David with a sharp — 

"Do you, then, understand this woman, 
boy?" 

"Why, yes! Did n't you? She's lost her way, 
and — " But the woman had hurnod forward 
and was pouring her story into David's ears. 

At its conclusion David turned to find the 
look of stupefjiction still on the others' fnces. 

"Well, what uoes she want?" asked Simeon 
Holly crisply. 

"She wants to find the way to Francois La- 

velle's house. He 's her husband's brother. She 

came in on the train this morning. Her husband 

stopped off a minute somewhere, she says, 

8i 



NUISANCES 

sne can t. She s only been in this country a 
week. She came from France " 

cried Perry Larson admiringly. "Reads hpr 
just like a book, don't he? there's a French 
family over in West Hinsdale - two of C i 
think^What-llyebet'tain'toneo-thlr'^ 
Very hkely." acceded Simeon Holly, his 
eyes bent disapprovingly on David's face. I 
was plam to be seen that Simeon Holly's atten 
tion was occupied by David, not the woma" 

An say, Mr. Holly." resumed Perry Lar 
son. a httle excitedly, "you know I wZgoS' 
over ter West Hinsdale in a day or two ef i" 
Harlow about them steei.. Why can'H go tK 
afternoon an' tote her an' the kid along?" 

Very well," nodded Simeon Holly curtlv 
his eyes still on David's face ^' 

flourish of his anns and a jumble of broken 
English attempted to make her under tanj 
that he was to take her where she undouTtedly 
wished to go. The woman still looked uncom- 

came to the rescue, saying a few rapid words 

UK 



f<- 



JUST DAVID 

that quickly brought a flood of delighted un- 
derstanding to the woman's face. 

"Can't you ask her if she's hungry?" ven- 
tured Mrs. Holly, then. 

" She says no, thank you," translated David, 
with a smile, when he had received his answer. 
"But the boy says he is, if you please." 

"Then, tell them to come into the kitchen," 
directed Mrs. Holly, hurrying into the house. 

"So you're French, are you?" said Simeon 
Holly to David. 

"French? Oh, no, sir," smiled David, 
proudly. "I'm an American. Father said I 
was. He said / was bom in this country." 

"But how comes it you can speak French 
Uke that?" 

"Why, I learned it." Then, divining that his 
words were still unconvincing, he added : " Same 
as I learned German and other things with 
father, out of books, you know. Did n't you 
learn French when you were a little boy?" 

"Humph!" vouchsafed Simeon Holly, stalk- 
ing away without answering the question. 

Immediately after dinner Perry Larson 
drove away with the woman and the httle 
boy. The woman's face was wreathed with 
86 



NUISANCES 
smiles, and her last adoring glance was for 
Dav.d. waving his hand to hfrrmVpU" 

In the afternoon David took his violin on^ 

Wm bS ,5 ^ !, ''^,^"- "°"y *° accompany 
ftrni. but she had refused, though she was not 
sweeping or dusting at the time She wasl^^^ 

k«» »ttr * r' "^='» "»' Ho«i to 

Keep us m tune, you know " 

"In tune!" 

"I nean, you looked as father used to Wt 
sometmies, when he felt out of tune aJ h 
always said there was nothing' iLe a walk t 
87 



JUST DAVID 

put him back again. I — I was feeling a little 
out of tune myself to-day, and I thought, by 
the way you looked, that you were, too. So I 
asked you to go to walk." 

"Humph I Well, I— That will do, boy. 
No impertinence, you understand!" And he 
had turned away in very obvious anger. 

David, with a puzzled sorrow m his heart, 
had started alone then, on his walk. 



CHAPTER VII 

"YOI RE WANTED — YOU'RE WANTED!" 

It w; .Saturday night, and the end of David's 
third day at the fannhouse. Upstain,. in the 
ho httle room over the kitchen, the boy knelt 
at the window and tried to find a breath of cool 
air from the hills. Downstairs on the poreh 

o;r; ",? r "'^ ^'^ '^^^^ ^■'--S 
brdtr:itrDS;"''^'''^°^-''«'^'>-'«i 

that had fallen between them. "What can we 
do with him? Does n't anybody waSfhr?" 
No. of course, nobody wants him." retorted 
her husband relentlessly. rewnea 

And at the words a small figure in a yellow- 
white mghtshirt stopped short. David violTn 
m hand, had fled from the little hot r^m aid 
stood now just inside the kitchen door. 

Who can want a child that has been brought 
up m that heathenish fashion?" continued 
Smieon Holly. "According to his own stor^. 
89 



JUST DAVID 

even his father did nothing hut play the fid- 
dle and tramp through the woods day in and 
day out. with an occasional trip to the moun- 
tain village to get fooc and clothing \ n they 
had absolutely nothing to eat and wear. Of 
course nobody wants him I" 

David, at the kitchen door, caught his breath 
chokingly. Then he sped across the floor to the 
back hall, and on through the long sheds to the 
hayloft in the bam — the; place where his father 
seemed always nearest. 

David was frightened and heartsick. Nobody 
wanted him. He had heard it with his own ears, 
30 there was no mistake. What now about all 
those long days and nights ahead before he 
might go, violin in hand, to meet his fatht.- in 
that far-awa> country? How was he to live 
those days and nights if nobod;' vanted him? 
How was his violin to speak in a \<. oe that was 
true and pure and full, and tell of the beautiful 
wurld, as his father had said that it must do? 
David quite cried aloud at the thought. Then 
he thought of something else that his father had 
said: "Remember this, my boy, — in your vio- 
hn lie all the things you long for. You have only 
to play, and the broad skies of your mountain 
go 



YOURE WANTED 
home will be over you. and the dear friends and 
comrades of your mountain forests will be all 
about you." With a quick cry David raised his 
violin and drew the bow across the strings 

Back on the porch - that moment Mrs. 
Holly was saying: — 

"Of course there's the orphan asylum, or 
maybe the poorhouse-if they'd take him; 
but —Simeon," she broke olT sharply, "where 's 
chat child playing now?" 
Simeon listened with intent ears. 
"In the bam, I should say." 
"But he'd gone to bed I" 
''And he '11 go to bed again," asserted Simeon 
Holly grimly, as he rose to his feet and stalkw" 
across the moonlit yard to the bam. 

As before, Mrs. Holly followed him. and as 
before, both involuntarily paused just inside the 
bam door to listen. No runs and trills and rol- 
hckmg bits of melody floated down the stairway 
to-night. The notes were long-drawn, and 
plaintively sweet; and they rose and swelled 
and died almost into silence while the man and 
the woman by the door stood listening. 

They were back in the long ago -Simeon 
Holly and his wife — back with a boy of their 
01 



JUST DAVID 

own who had made those same rafters ring with 
shouts of laughter, and who, also, had played 
the violin — though not Uke this; and the same 
thought had come to each: "What if, after all, 
it were John playing all alone in the moon- 
light!" 

It had not been the violin, in the end, that 
had driven John Holly from home. It had been 
the possibilities in a piece of crayon. AH 
through childhood the boy had drawn his be- 
loved "pictures" on every inviting space that 
offered, — whether it were the "best-room" 
wall-paper, or the fly leaf of the big plush al- 
bum,— and at eighteen he had announced 
his determination to be an artist. For a year 
after that Simeon Holly fought with all the 
strength of a stubborn will, banished chalk and 
crayon from the house, and set the boy to 
homely tasks that left no time for anything but 
food and sleep — then John ran away. 

That was fifteen years ago, and they had not 
seen him since; though two unanswered letters 
in Simeon Holly's desk testified that perhaps 
this, at least, was not the boy's fault. 

It was not of the grown-up John, the willful 
boy and runaway son, however, that Simeon 
92 



YOU'RE WANTED 
Holly and his wife were thinking, as they stood 
ust inside the barn door; it was of Baby John, 
the httie curly-headed fellow that had played 
at then- knees, frolicked in this very bam. and 
nestled in their airos when the day was done. 

Mrs Holly spoke first -and it was not as ' 
She had spoken on the porch. 

"Simeon." she began tremulously, "that 
dear child must go to bed!" And she hurried 
across the floor and up the staira, followed by 
her husband. "Come, David," she said, as she 
reached the top; "it's time little boys were 
asleep! Come!" 

Her voice was low, and not quite steady. To 
David her voice sounded as her eyes looked 
when there was in them the far-away some- 
thing that hurt. Very slowly he came forward 
into the moonlight, his gaze searching the 
woman s face long and earnestly. 
"And do you — want me?" he faltered. 
The woman drew in her breath with a little 
sob Before her stood the slender figure in the 
yellow-white gown -John's gown. Into her 
eyes looked those other eyes, dark and wistful 
- like John's eyes. And her arms ached with 
emptiness. 

03 



JUST DAVID 
"Yes, yes, for my very own — and for al- 
ways!" she cried with sudden passion, clasping 
the httle form close. "For always!" 
And David sighed his content. 
Simeon Holly's lips parted, but they closed 
again with no words said. The man turned 
then, with a curiously baffled look, and stalked 
down the stairs. 

On the porch long minutes later, when once 
more David had gone to bed. Simeon Holly 
said coldly to his wife : — 

"I suppose you realize, Ellen, just what 
you ve pledged yourself to. by that absurd out- 
burst of yours in the barn to-night - and all 
because that ungodly music and the moon- 
shine had gone to your head!" 

"But I want the boy, Simeon. He — he 
makes me think of — John." 

Harsh lines came to the man's mouth, but 
there was a perceptible shake in his voice as he 
answered : — 

"We're not talking of John, Ellen. We're 
talking of this irresponsible, hardly sane boy 
upstairs. He can work, I suppose, if he's 
taught, and in that way he won't perhaps be a 
dead loss. Still, he's another mouth to feed 
94 



YOURE WANTED 
and that counts now. There's the note, you 
know. - it 's due in August." ^ 

"But you say there's money -ahnost 
enough for it-i„ the bank." Mrs. hS 
voice was anxiously apologetic. 

"Yes, I know," vouchsafed the man. "But 
almost enough is not quite enough " 

"I ^t there's time - more than two months. 
It .s n't due till the last of August. Simeon." 

h«^ ww' ^ ''"°''- Meanwhile, there's the 
boy What are you going to do with him?" 

littl^'^^' '""'^ ^°" ""^ ^^ ~ °" ^^^ ^^™ - a 

JJ^'^n^'' ^ f °u''* "• ^^'"'^^" gl°»">ed the 

Trl^ k"' """ * ^"^ '°™ ""'■ P"» ^««ds with 
a fiddle-bow _ and that's all he seems to know 
how to handle." 

. "^Xu^"^"" leam-and he does play 
beautifully," murmured the woman; whenever 
before had Ellen Holly ventured to use words 
of argument with her husband, and in extenua- 
tion, too. of an act of her own I 

Humph! under the breath. Then Simeon 
•Holly rose and stalked into the house 
The next day was Sunday, and Sunday at 
05 



JUST DAVID 

the fannhouse was a thing of stem repression 
and solemn silence. In Simeon Holly's veins 
ran the blood of the Puritans, and he was more 
than strict as to what he considered right and 
wrong. When half-trained for the ministry, 
ill-health had forced him \o resort to a less con- 
fining life, though never had it taken from him 
the uncompromising rigor of his views. It was 
a distinct shock to him, therefore, on this Sun- 
day morning to be awakened by a peal of music 
such as the little house had never known be- 
fore. All the while thfit he was thrusting his 
indignant self into his clothing, the runs and 
turns and crashing chords whirled about him 
until it seemed that a whole orchestra must be 
imprisoned in the little room over the kitchen, 
so skillful was the boy's double stopping. Sim- 
eon Holly was white with anger when he finally 
hurried down the hall and threw open David's 
bedroom door. 

"Boy, what do you mean by this?" he de- 
manded. 

David laughed gleefully. 

"And did n't you know?" he asked. "Why, 
I thought my music would tell you. I was so 
happy, so glad! The birds in the trees woke 




' it' 



ff 



••VOU'KE WANTED -YOU'RE WANTED! 



YOU'RE WANTED 
me up singing. 'You're wanted - you 're 
wanted'; and tlie sun came ove. the .ill there 
and said, 'You're wanted -you 're wanted'- 
and the little t..e-branch tappi on ^.y^Sdow 
pane and said. 'You're wanted -you 're 
wanted,. And I just had to take up my'violin 
and tell you about iti" 

"But it's Sunday — the Lord's Day." re- 
monstrated the man sternly. 
David stood motionless, his eyes questioning. 
Are you quite a heathen, then?" catechised 
the man sharply. "Have they never told you 
anything about God. boy?" 

"Oh. 'God'? - of course." smiled David, in 
open rehef. "God wraps up the buds in their 
httle^rown blankets, and covers the roots 

"I am not talking about brown blankets nor 
roots, mterrupted the man severely. "This is 
God s day, and as such should be kept holy " 
Holy'?" 

You should 



sing.' 



■ fiddle nor laugh nor 

But those are good things, and beautiful 
things defended David, his eyes wide and 
puzzled. 



97 



JUST DAVID 

"In their place, perhaps," conceded the man 
stiffly; "but not on God's day." 
"You m«an — He would n't like them?" 
"Yes." 

" Oh ! " — and David's face cleared. " That 's 
aJl right, then. Your God is n't the same one, 
sir, for mine loves all beautiful things every day 
in the year." 

There was a moment's silence. For the first 
time in his life Simeon Holly found himself 
without words. 

"We won't talk of this any more, David," he 
said at last; "but we'll put it another way — I 
don't wish you to play your fiddle on Sunday. 
Now, put it up till to-morrow." And he turned 
and went down the hall. 

Breakfast was a very quiet meal that morn- 
ing. Meals were never things of hilarious joy at 
the Holly farmhouse, as David had already 
found out; but he had not seen one before quite 
so somber as this. It was followed immediately 
by a half-hour of Scripture-reading and prayer, 
with Mrs. Holly and Perry Larson sitting verj^ 
stiff and solemn in their chairs, while Mr. Holly 
read. David tried to sit very stiff and solemn 
in his chair, also; but the roses at the windr 
98 



YOU'RE WANTED 
were nodding their heads and beckoning; and 
the birds .n the bushes beyond wer« sending to 

out ! And how could one expect to sit stiff and 
solemn ,n the face of all that, particularly when 
one s fingers were tingling to take up the inter- 

^^u^,'°''i °^ ^^' '"""'•"8 ^nd tell the whole 
world how beautiful it was to be wanted I 

rJiA ^.^^'^ '^1 ^""^ still, -or as still as he 

«nH ,.' ' ~ '"'^ °°'y '^' t^PP'"e of his foot! 

and the roving of his wistful eyes told that 
his mmd was not with Farmer Holly and the 

wSi^s"' '''''' ^" ^'^^ ^^"^^^^"«^ - '^^ 
After the devotions came an hour of subdued 
haste and confusion while the family prepared 
for churchy David had never been to church. 
He asked Peny Larson what it was like; but 
Perry only shrugged his shoulders and said, to 
nobody, apparently : — 

"Sugar! Won't ye hear that, now?" — 
which to David was certainly no answer at all. 
That one must be spick and span to go to 
church, David soon found out -never before 
had he been so scrubbed and brushed and 
combed. There was. too. brought out for him 
00 



JUST DAyiD 
to wear a little clean white blouse and a red tie, 
over which Mrs. Holly cried a httle as she had 
over the nightshirt that first evening. 

The church was in the village only a quarter 
of a mile away; and in due time David, open- 
eyed and interested, was following Mr. and 
Mrs. Holly down its long center aisle. The 
HoUys were early as usual, and service had not 
begun. Even the organist had not taken his 
seat beneath the great pipes of blue and gold 
that towered to the ceiling. 

It was the pride of the town — that organ. 
It had been given by a great man (out in the 
world) whose birthplace the town was. More 
than that, a yearly donation from this same 
great man paid for the skilled organist who 
came every Sunday from the city to play it. 
To-day, as the organist took his seat, he no- 
ticed a new face in the Holly pew. and he ahnost 
gave a friendly smile as he met the wondering 
gaze of the small boy there; then he lost him- 
self, as usual, in the music before him. 

Down in the Holly pew the small boy held 
his breath. A score of violins were singing in 
his ears; and a score of other instruments that 
he could not name, crashed over his head. 



YOU'RE WANTED 
and brought him to his feet in ecstasy. Before 
a detaimng hand could stop him. he was out in 

IrL I' k" '^"' °" ^^' blue-and-gold pipes 
from which seemed to come those wondrous 

t^ h J'f? '" '''' ^•'" °" 'he man and on 
1„^?K ^"^'' '"^ ^'^^ ""^ «teps he crept 
along the aisle and up the stairs to the organ- 

For long minutes he stood motionless, listen- 
ing; then the music died into silence and the 
mmister rose for the invocation. It was a boy's 
voice, and not a man's, however, that broke the 
pause. 

"Oh, sir. please." it said, "would you — 
could you teach me to do that? " 

The organist choked over a cough, and the 
soprano reached out and drew David to her 
side, whispering something in his ear. The 
mmister. after a dazed silence, bowed his head; 
while down in the Holly pew an angry man and 
a sorely mortified woman vowed that, before 
David came to church again, he should have 
learned some things. 



r 






CHAPTER VIII 

THE PUZZLING "dOS" AND "DOn'ts" 

With the coming of Monday arrived a new 
life for David — a curious life full of "don'ts" 
and "dos." David wondered sometimes why 
all the pleasant things were "don'ts" and all 
the unpleasant ones "dos." Com to be hoed, 
weeds to be pulled, woodboxes to be filled; 
with all these it was "do this, do this, do this." 
But when it came to lying under the apple 
trees, exploring the brook that ran by the 
field, or even watching the bugs and woims 
that one found in the earth — all these were 
"don'ts." 

As to Farmer Holly — Farmer Holly himself 
awoke to some new experiences that Monday 
morning. One of them was the difficulty in suc- 
cessfully combating the cheerfully expressed 
opinion that weeds were so pretty growing that 
it was a pity to pull them up and let them all 
wither and die. Another was the equally great 
difficulty of keeping a small boy at useful labor 



"DOS" AND "DON'TS" 

1?Z T '" "?' ^"^ "^ ^''« »""'"on» dis- 
played by a pawmg cloud, a bloMoming shrub. 

or a bird singing on a tree-branch 

H.Ih'^J'!."' t" """• '•'^'^"' D«vid so evi- 
dcntly did h» best to carry out the "dos" onH 

T:^m'':T'" "'^'^' '--•^'-'^ "a 
fi« Monday he won from the stem but would- 

be.,U5t Parmer Holly his freedom for the rest of 

the day; and very gayly he set off for a walk 

He went without his violin, as there was the 

smell of ram in the air; but his face and hi 

(to David) the joyous song of the morning be- 
fore. Even yet. m spite of the vicissitudes of 
the day s work, the whole world, to David's 

that blessed "You're wanted, you're wanted 
you're wanted!" = «aniea, 

And then he saw the crow 

David knew crows. In his home on the 

frienr H^l ^/f '''"' ^'^^^^ °f 'hem for 
fnends. He had learned to know and answer 
the^ calls. He had learned to admire tl^l 
wisdom and to respect their moods and em- 
r^ He loved to watch them. Especially he 
loved to see the great birds cut through the air 
io3 



JUST DAVID 

with a wide sweep of wings, so alive, so glori- 
ously free! 
But this crow — 

This crow was not cutting through the air 
with a wide sweep of wing. It was in the middle 
of a cornfield, and it was rising and falling and 
flopping about in a most extraordinary fashion. 
Very soon David, running toward it, saw why. 
By a long leather strip it was fastened securely 
to a stake in the ground. 

"Oh, oh, oh!" exclaimed David, in sympa- 
thetic consternation. " ^ere, you just wait a 
minute. I '11 fix it." 

With confident celerity David whipped out 
his jackknife to cut the thong; but he found 
then that to "fix it" and to say he would "fix 
it" were two different matters. 

The crow did not seem to recognize in David 
a friend. He saw in him, apparentlv, but an- 
other of the stone-throwing, gun-shooting, tor- 
turing humans who were responsible for his 
present hateful captivity. With beak and claw 
and wing, therefore, he fought this new evil that 
had come presumedly to torment; and not until 
David had hit upon the expedient of taking off 
his blouse, and throwing it over the angry 
io4 



iii 




WITH A CAW OK TRMMI-IIA.NT 



IttlOICINO 



"DOS" AND "DON'TS" 
bird could the boy get near enough to accom 

baAZh."!?? ?" °''"°"' »"«» David got 

' 'T is kinder hot work " 

Dava^.What"'dSn•t^^' ''"*•" '^^""^^'^ 
w nat 1 did n t like was pulling ud all 

thos«y nttle plants and lettin'g theSe^" 
"uT u "be Jiggered!" 

voice. The very prettiest and biggest there 
io5 



k\l 



JUST DAVID 

were, always. Mr. Holly showed me, you know, 
— and I had to pull them up." 

"Well, I'll be jiggered!" muttered Perry 
Larson again 

"But I've been to walk since. I feel better 
now." 

"Oh, ye do!" 

"Oh, yes. T had a splendid walk. I went 
'way up in the woods on the hill there. I was 
singing all the time — inside, you know. I 
was so glad Mrs. Holly ^wanted me. You 
know what it is, when you sing inside." 

Perry Larson scratched his head. 

"Well, no, sonny, I can't really say I do," 
he retorted. " I ain't much on singin'." 

"Oh, but I don't mean aloud. I mean inside. 
When you're happy, you know." 

"When I'm — oh!" The man stopped and 
stared, his mouth falling open. Suddenly his 
,;■ e changed, and he grinned appreciatively. 

Well, if you ain't the beat 'em, boy! 'Tis 
kinder like singin' — the way ye feel inside, 
when yer 'specially happy, ain't iv? But I never 
thought of it before." 

"Oh, yes. Why, that's where I get my 
songs — inside of me, you know — that I play 
io6 



"DOS" AND "DONTS" 
on my violin. And I made a crow sing. too. 
Only Ae sang outside." 

u .71"? ~ ^ "'^'" '"''"^^ '*»« '"^n- "Shuckst 
It 11 take more 'n you ter make me think a 
crow can sing, my lad." 

tamed the boy. 'Anyhow, it doesn't sound the 
same as it does when they're cross, or plagued 
over something. You ought to have heard this 
one to-day. He sang. He was so glad to get 
away. I let him loose, you see." 
"Y'Tu mean you caught a crow up there in 

ttai' ^^" "'"'' "''"' ^"^ ^•'^P- 

h T^' aVf^ "'* '^**=^ 't- But somebody 
had. ^and fed hm. up. And he was so un- 

"A crow tied up in the woods!" 

"Oh I did n't find that in the woods. It was 
before I went up th-; hill at all." 

"A crow tied up _ Look a-here. boy, what 
are you talkm' about? Where was that crow?" 

aler7 ""'^ ^^°^^ '^'^ ^^'^ ^^^"""^ suddenly 

body -"^ ^^''^ '^^^ °^^'" ^^^'^- ^^ ^°™e- 
107 



JUST DAVID 

"The cornfield! Jingo! Boy, you don't mean 
you touched that crow?" 

"Well, he would n't let me touch him," half- 
apologized David. "He was so afraid, you see. 
Why, I had to put my blouse over his head 
before he'd let me cut him loose at all." 

"Cut him loose!" Perry Larson sprang to 
his feet. "You didn't— you didn't let that 
crow go!" 

David shrank back. 

"Why, yes; he wanted to go. He — " But 
the man before him had fallen back despair- 
ingly to his old position. 

"Well, sir, you've done it now. What the 
boss'U say, I don't know; but I know what I'd 
like ter say to ye. I was a whole week, off an' 
on, gettin' hold of that crow, an' I would n't 
have got him at all if I had n't hid half the 
night an' all the mornin' in that clump o' 
bushes, watchin' a chance ter wing him, jest 
enough an' not too much. An' even then the 
job wa'n't done. Let me tell yer, 't wa'n't no 
small thing ter get him hitched. I'm wearin' 
the marks of the rascal's beak yet. An' now 
you've gone an' let him go — just like that," 
he finished, snapping his fingers angrily. 
io8 



"DOS" AND "DON'TS" 
In David'-: face there was no contrition. 
There was only incredulous horror. 
"You mean, you tied him there, on puroose?" 
"Sure I did!" 

"But he did n"t like it. Could n't you see he 
did n't like it?" cried David. 

"Like it! What if he did n't? I did n't like 
ter have my corn pulled up, either. See here, 
sonny, you no need ter look at me in that tone 
o' voice. I did n't hurt the varmint none ter 
speak of — ye see he could fly, did n't ye? — 
an' he wa'n't starvin'. I saw to it that he had 
enough ter eat an' a dish o' water handy. An' 
if he did n't flop an* pull an' try ter get away 
he need n't 'a' hurt hisself never. I ain't ter 
blame for what puUin' he done." 

"But would n't you pull if you had two big 
wmgs that could carry you to the top of that big 
tree there, and away up, up in the sky, where 
you could talk to the stars? — would n't you 
pull if somebody a hundred times bigger'n you 
came along and tied your leg to that post 
there?" 

The man, Perry, flushed an angry red. 
"See here, sonny, I wa'n't askin' you ter do 
no preachin'. What I did ain't no more'n any 
log 




JUST DAVID 

man 'round here does — if he's smart enough 
ter catch one. Rigged-up broomsticks ain't in 
it with a live bird when it comes ter drivin' 
away them pesky, thievin' crows. There ain't 
a farmer 'round here that hain't been green 
with envy, ever since I caught the critter. An' 
now ter have you come along an' with one flip 
o' yer knife spile it all, I — Well, it jest 
makes me mad, clean through! That's all." 

"You mean, you tied him there to frighten 
away the other crows?" 

"Sure! There ain't nothin' like it." 

"Oh, I'm so sorry!" 

"Well, you'd better be. But that won't 
bring back my crow!" 

David's face brightened. 

"No, that's so, is n't it? I 'm glad of that. I 
was thinking of the crows, you see. I'm so 
sorry for them! Only think how we'd hate to 
be tied like that — " But Perry Larson, with 
a stare and an indignant snort, had got to his 
feet, and was rapidly walking toward the house. 

Very plainly, that evening, David was in 
disgrace, and it took all of Mrs. Holly's tact 
and patience, and some private pleading, to 
keep a general explosion from wrecking all 



"DOS" AND "DON'TS" 
chances of his staying longer at the fannhouse 
Even 33 .t ^^^ r^^^.y ^^^ sorrowfuirawaT; 
that he was proving to be a great disappit! 
ment so soon, and his violin playing that even 
.ng cajTied a moaning plaintivenL'tha VoTd" 
David'S.^^^ "^"^''^^"^ ^° °- -^'^ ^""w 
Very faithfully, the next day. the boy tried 
to carry out all the "dos." and though he dd 
not always succeed, yet his efforts were o 
Hbrr;, ''' -«" the indignant owner oT the 
liberated crow was somewhat mollified- and 
agam Simeon Holly released n^^iAt , 

at four o'clock. ^'^"' ^'■°'" ^"'•'^ 

Alas, for David's peace of mind, however- 
or on his walk , ,-day. though he fouXno 
captive crow to demand his sympathy, he found 
something else' quite as heartrending, and "s 
incomprehensible. ^ 

It was on the edge of the woods that he came 
upon two boys, each canning a rifle a d^d 
squirrel and a dead rabbit. The th eatened 

Sid t.'f- '^'°" ""'' "°^ -ateriaC and 
David had his violin. He had been playing 

softly when he came upon the boys where If 
path entered the woods. wnere the 



I Ha a 



ill I 



JUST DAVID 

"Oh !" At sight of the boys and their burden 
David gave an involuntary cry, and stopped 
playing. 

The boys, scarcely less surprised at sight of 
David and his violin, paused and stared frankly. 

"It's the tramp kid with his fiddle," whis- 
pered one to the other huskily. 

David, his grieved eyes on the motionless 
little bodies in the boys' hands, shuddered. 

"Are they — dead, too?" 

The bigper k y nodded self-importantly. 

"Sure. We just shot 'em — the squirrels. 
Ben here trapped the rabbits." He paused, 
manifestly waiting for the proper awed admi- 
ration to come into David's face. 

But in David's startled eyes there was no 
awed admiration, there was only disbelieving 
horror. 

"You mean, you sent them to the far 
country?" 

"We — what?" 

"Sent them. Made them go yourselves — to 
the far country? " 

The younger boy still stared. The older one 
grinned disagreeably. 

"Sure," he answered with laconic indiffer- 



"DOS" AND "DONTS" 
cnce. "We sent 'em to the far country, all 

gor "'~''°*' '^''^ ^°" ''""'^ ""^y «"'"''''' lo 

"Wanted- Eh?" exploded the big boy. 
Then he grinned again, still more disagreeably. 
VVell. you se». my dear, we did n't ask 'em " 
he gibed. 

Real distress came into David's face 

♦h"'^5''? T" ''""'' •'""^ "' a»- And maybe 
they rf/rfn/ want to go. And if they didn't 
how could they go singing, as father said? 
Father was n't sent. He went. And he went 
singing. He said he did. But these -How 
V 1 nou like to have somebody come along 
anu ^nd you to the far country, without even 
Knowing if you wanted to go?" 

There was no answer. The boys, with a 
growing fear in their eyes, as at sighl of some- 
thing inexplicable and uncanny, were sidling 
away; and i^ a moment they were hurrying 
down the hill. not. however, without a back- 
ward^ glance or two. of something very like 

David, left alone, went on his way with 
troubled eyes and a thoughtful frown. 
ii3 



III 



JUST DAVID 

David often wore, during those first few 
days at the Holly farmhouse, a thoughtful face 
and a troubled frown. There were so many, 
many things that were different from his moun- 
tain home. Over and over, as those first long 
days passed, he read his letter until he knew 
it by heart — and he had need to. Was he 
not already surrounded by things and people 
that were strange to him? 

And they were so very strange — these peo- 
ple! There were the boys and men who rose 
at dawn — yet never paused to watch the sun 
flood the world with light; who stayed in the 
fields all day — yet never raised their eyes to 
the big fleecy clouds overhead; who knew birds 
only as thieves after fruit and grain, and squir- 
rels and rabbits only as creatures to be trapped 
or shot. The women — they were even more 
incomprehensible. They spent the long hours 
behind screened doors and windows, washing 
the same dishes and sweeping the same floors 
day after day. They, too, never raised their 
eyes to the blue sky outside, nor even to the 
crimson roses that peeped in at the window. 
They seemed rather to be looking always for 
dirt, yet not pleased when they found it — 
"4 



Jill 



"DOS" AND "DONTS" 

especially if it had been tracked in on the heel 

of a small boy's shoe t "n me neel 

More extraordinary than all this to David 

iZT;*"' '^' '''' '•'«' '»'«»« people Z 
garded hm. not themselves, as bein'stranj 
As .f .t were not the most natural thing inTe 
world to live with one's father in one's home on 
he mountam-top. and spend one's days trdinl 
U^rough the forest paths, or lying wiih a booj 
bes.de some babbhng little stream! As i^t 
were not equally natural to take one's violin 
w. h one at times, and learn to catch upon the 
?H T^''""«' the whisper of tho^;inds 
through the trees! Even in winter, when the 
clouds themselves came down from thrskv an i 
covered the earth with their soft w iteneL -l^ 

son^ , f the brwk under its icy coat carried a 

cl.ar.„ and mystery that were quite wanting in 

he chattenng freedom of summer. Sufely 

here was nothing strange in all this, and S 

these people seemed to think there was- 



CHAPTER IX 



JOE 

Day by day, however, as time passed, David 
diligently tried to perform the "dos" and 
avoid the "don'ts"; and day by day he came 
to realize how important weeds and woodboxes 
were, if he were to conform to what was evi- 
dently Farmer Holly's idea of "playing in 
tune," in this strange new' Orchestra of Life in 
which he found himself. 

But, try as he would, there was yet an un- 
reality about it all, a persistent feeling of use- 
lessness and waste, that would not be set aside. 
So that, after all, the only part of this strange 
new life of his that seemed real to him was the 
time that came after four o'clock each day, 
when he was released from work. 

And how full he filled those hours ! There was 
80 much to see, so much to do. For sunny days 
there were field and stream and pasture land 
and the whole wide town to explore. For rainy 
days, if he did not care to go to walk, there 
was his room with the books in the chimney 
ii6 



JOE 

cupboard. Some of them David had read be- 
ore. but many of them he had not. Onet 

Uick and The Pirates of Pigeon Cove" 

behmd a loose board). Side by side stood "The 

..?.H , ^?P\^'«W"; and coverless and dog- 
eared Jay "Robinson Crusoe," "The Arabian 
Nights." and "Grimm's Faii^ Tales.'^lre 
were more many more, and David devoured 

^^/''l '"«''■ '^''- The good in them^e 
absorbed as he absorbed the sunshine; the evit 

dlTL^'t unconsciously -it rolled off, in- 
deed, hke the proverbial water from the duck's 

th^Spr'?'"^ ''"'* '""^'^^^ ^hich he liked 
tje better, his miaginative adventures between 
the covers of his books or his real adventures ta 

home ^h?',- ^^'^ 'i^^' -* ^- —Tain 
home -this place m which he found himself- 
neither was there anywhere his SilverTke 
With IS far. far-reaching sky above. More de- 
Pj)rable yet. nowhere was there the dear father 
he loved so well. But the sun still set in ose 
and gold, and the sky. though small. stiS ca^! 
"7 



JUST DAVID 

ried the snowy sails of its cloud-boats; while 
as to his father — his father had told him not 
to grieve, and David was trying very hard to 
obey. 

With his violin for company David started 
out each day, unless he elected to stay indoors 
with his books. Sometimes it was toward the 
village that he turned his steps; sometimes it 
was toward the hills back of the town. Which- 
ever way it was, there was always sure to be 
something waiting at the end for him and his 
violin to discover, if it wa,s nothing more than 
a big white rose in bloom, or a squirrel sitting 
by the roadside. 

Very soon, however, David discovered that 
there was something to be found in his wander- 
ings besides squirrels and roses; and that was 
— people. In spite of the strangeness of these 
people, they were wonderfully interesting, 
David thought. And after that he turned his 
steps more and more frequently toward the 
village when four o'clock released him from the 
day's work. 

At first David did not talk much to these 
people. He shrank sensitively from their bold 
stares and unpleasantly audible comments. He 
ii8 



JOE 

watched them with round eyes of wonder and 
nterest. however. - when he did not thbk 
they were watching him. And in time he came 
to know not a Uttle about them and about tl 
strange ways m which they passed their time 

1 here was the greenhouse man. It would be 
pleasant to spend one's day growing plants and 
nowers - but not under that hot. string glass 
roof deeded David. Besides, he woufd no^ 
want a ways to pick and send away th ve^ 
pretfest ones to the city every morning, as t J^ 
greenhouse man did. 

h.?T.r' ^^"^ ''°'^°' ^^° "^^ all day long 
David hked him. and mentally vowed that he 
hunself would be a doctor sometime StiU 
there was the stage-driver - David was not 

sure but he would prefer to follow 1:1" 
profession for a life-work, for in his. one could 

and v7 '':^^«^°'" °f '°"« days in the open' 
S rl "^'u^' '^^^^"^'^ ^y Ihe sight of the 
sick before they had been made well- wh ch 
was where the stage-driver had the betrer of 
the doctor m David's opinion. Therewere the 
blacksmith and the storekeepers, too. but to 
these David gave little thought or attention! 
"9 



11^ 



JUST DAVID 

Though he might not know what he did want 
to do, he knew very well what he did not. All 
of which merely goes to prove that David was 
still on the lookout for that great work which 
his father had said was waiting for him out in 
the world. 

Meanwhile David played his violin. If he 
found a crimson rambler in bloom in a door- 
yard, he put it into a little melody of pure de- 
light — that a woman in the house behind the 
.-ambler heard the music and was cheered at her 
task, David did not know. If he found a kitten 
at play in the sunshine, he put it into a riotous 
abandonment of tumbling turns and trills — 
that a fretful baby heard and stopped its wail- 
ing, David also did not know. And once, just 
because the sky was blue and the air was sweet, 
and it was so good to be alive, David lifted his 
bow and put it all into a rapturous pa?an of ring- 
ing exultation — that a sick man in a darkened 
chamber above the street lifted his head, drew 
in his breath, and took suddenly a new lease 
of life, David still again did not know. All of 
which merely goes to prove that David had 
perhaps found his work and was doing it — 
.although yet still again David did not know. 



JOE 

It was in the cemetery one afternoon that 
David came upon the Lady in Black. She was 
on her knees putting flowers on a httle mound 
before her. She looked up as David approached. 
For a moment she gazed wistfully at him; then, 
as if impelled by a hidden force, she spoke. 
"Little boy, who are you?" 
"I'm David." 

"David! David who? Do you live here? 
I've seen you here before." 

"Oh, yes, I've been here quite a lot of 
times." Purposely the boy evaded the ques- 
tions. David was getting tired of questions — 
especially these questions. 

"And have you — lost one dear to you, little 
boy?" 
"Lost some one?" 

" I mean— is your father or mother— here?" 

"Here? Oh, no, they aren't here. My 

mother is an angel-mother, and my father has 

gone to the far country. He is waiting for me 

there, you know." 

"But, that's the same — that is—" She 
stopped helplessly, bewildered eyes on David's 
serene face. Then suddenly a great light came 
to her own. "Oh, httle boy, I wish / could un- 



11 



JUST DAVID 

derstand that — just that," she breathed. "It 
would make it so much easier — if I could just 
remember that they are n't here — that they're 
wailing — over there 1" 

But David apparently did not hear. He had 
turned and was playing softly as he walked 
away. Silently the Lady in Black knelt, listen- 
ing, looking after him. When she rose some 
time later and left the cemetery, the light on 
her face was stiU there, deeper, more glorified. 

Toward boys and girls — especially boys — 
of his own age, David frequently turned wist- 
ful eyes. David wanted a friend, a friend who 
would know and understand; a friend who 
would see things as he saw them, who would 
understand what he was saying when he played. 
It seemed to David that in some boy of his own 
age he ought to find such a friend. He had seen 
many boys — but he had not yet found the 
friend. David had begun to think, indeed, that 
of all these strange beings in this new life of his, 
boys were the strangest. 

They stared and nudged each other unpleas- 
antly when they came upon him playing. They 
jeered when he tried to tell them what he had 
been playing. They had never heard of the 



JOE 

great Orchestra of Life, and they fell into most 
disconcerting fits of laughter, or else backed 
away as if afraid, when he told them that they 
themselves were instruments in it. and that if 
they did not keep themselves in tune, there was 
sure to be a discord somewhere. 

Then there were their games and frolics. 
Such as were played with balls, bats, and bags 
of beans, David thought he would like very 
much. But the boys only scoffed when he 
asked them to teach him how to play. They 
laughed when a dog chased a cat, and they 
thought it very, very funny when Tony, the 
old black man, tripped on the string they drew 
across his path. They liked to throw stones and 
snoot guns, and the more creeping, crawling, or 
fiying creatures that they could send to the far 
country, the happier they were, apparently 
Nor did they like it at all when he asked them 
if they were sure all these creeping, crawling, 
flying creatures wanted to leave this beautiful 
world and to be made dead. They sneered and 
called him a sissy. David did not know what a 
sissy was; but from the way they said it. he 
judged it must be even worse to be a sissy than 
to be a thief. 

ia3 



JUST DAVID 

And then he discovered Joe. 

David had found himself in a very strange, 
very unlovely neighborhood that afternoon. 
The street was full of papers and tin cans, the 
houses were unspeakably forlorn with sagging 
blinds and lack of paint. Untidy women and 
blear-eyed men leaned over the dilapidated 
fences, or lolled on mud-tracked doorsteps. 
David, his shrinking eyes turning from one side 
to the other, passed slowly through the street, 
his violin under his arm. Nowhere could David 
find here the tiniest spot of beauty to "play." 
He had reached quite the most forlorn little 
shanty on the street when the promise in his 
father's letter occurred to him. With a sud- 
denly illumined face, he raised his violin to 
position and plunged into a veritable whirl of 
trills and runs and tripping melodies. 

" If I did n't just entirely forget that I did n't 
need to see anything beautiful to play," laughed 
David softly to himself. "Why, it's already 
right here in my violin!" 

David had passed the tumble-down shanty, 
and was hesitating where two streets crossed, 
when he felt a light touch on his arm. He 
turned to confront a small girl in a patched and 

134 



dyiiii 



JOE 

faded calico dress, obviously outgrown. Her 
eyes were wide and frightened. In the middle 
of her outstretched dirty little palm was a cop- 
per cent. 

"If you please, Joe sent this— to you," she 
faltered. 

"To me? What for?" David stopped play- 
ing and lowered his violin. 

The little girl backed away perceptibly, 
though she still held out the coin. 

"Ke wanted you to stay and play some more. 
He said to tell you he'd 'a' sent more money if 
he could. But he did n't have it. He just had 
this cent." 
David's eyes flew wide open. 
"You mean he wants me to play? He likes 
it?" he asked joyfully. 

"Yes. He said he knew 'tv/a'n't much — 
the cent. But he thought maybe you'd play a 
little for it." 

"Play? Of course I'll play," cried David. 
"Oh, no, I don't want the money," he added, 
waving the again-proffered coin aside. " I don't 
need money where I 'm living now. Where is 
he — the one that wanted me to play?" he 
finished eagerly. 

135 



JUST DAVID 

"'i thereby the window. It's Joe. He's my 
bioiher." The little girl, in spite of her evident 
satisfaction at the accomplishment of her pur- 
pose, yet kept quite aloof from the boy. Nor 
did the fact that he refused the money appear 
to bring her anything but uneasy surprise. 

In the window David saw a boy apparently 
about his own age, a boy with sandy hair, pale 
cheeks, and wide-open, curiously intent blue 
eyes. 

"Is he coming? Did you get him? Will he 
play?" called the boy at the window eagerly. 

"Yes. I'm right here. I'm the one. Can't 
you see the violin? Shall I play here or come 
in?" answered David, not one whit less eageriy. 

The small girl opened her lips as if to ex- 
plain something; but the boy in the window di' 
not wait. 

"Oh, come in. Will you come in?" he cried 
unbelievingly. "And will you just let me touch 
it — the fiddle? Come! You u>i7/ come? See, 
there is n't anybody home, only just Betty 
and me." 

"Of course will!" David fairly stumbled 
up the broken steps in his impatience to reach 
the wide-open door. "Did you like it — what 
ia6 



JOE 

I played? And did you know what I was ptay- 
ing? Did you understand? Could you see the 
cloud-boats up in the sky, and my Silver Uke 
down in the valley? And could you hear the 
birds, and the winds in the trees, and the little 
brooks? Could you? Oh. did you understand? 
I ve so wanted to find some one that could! 
But I wouldn't think that you — here—" 
With a gesture, and an expression on his face 
that were unmistakable, David came to a helo- 
less pause. *^ 

"There, Joe, whafd I tel. you." cried the 
Mtle girl, in a husky whisper, darting to her 
brother s side. "Oh. why did you make me get 
him here? Everybody says he's crazy as a loon 
and — ' 

But the boy reached out a quickly silencing 
hand. His face was curiously alight, as if from 
an inward glow. His eyes, still widely intent 
were staring straight ahead. 

"Stop. Betty, wait," he hushed her. " Maybe 
- 1 think I do understand. Boy, you mean - 
inside of you, you see those things, and then 
you try to make your fiddle tell what you are 
seeing. Is that it?" 
"Yes, yes." cried David. "Oh. you do undcr- 
127 



JUST DAVID 
stand. And I never thought you could. I never 
thought that anybody could that did n't have 
anything to look at but him — but the-e things." 
'"Anything but these to look ai I" echoed 
the boy, with a sudden niRuish in his voice. 
"Anything but these! I t'u.-ss if I could see any- 
thing, I wouldn't mind what I seel An' you 
would n't, neither, if you was— blind, like me." 
"Blind!" David fell back. Face and voice 
were full of horror. "You mean you can't see 
— ."nything, with your eyes?" 
•'Nothin'." 

"Oh! I never saw any one blind before. 
There was one in a book — but father took it 
away. Since then, in books down here, I've 
found others — but — " 

"Yes, yes. Well, never mind that," cut in 
the blind boy, growing restive under the pity in 
the other's voice. "Play. Won't you?" 

"But how are you ever going to know what a 
beautiful world it is? " shuddered David. " How 
can you know? And how can you ever play in 
tune? You're one of the instruments. Father 
said everybody was. And he said everybody 
was playing something all the time; and if you 
did n't play in tune — " 

138 



JOE 

-Z^l: '^°*'. P'''"*'" ^'^e^ Ihe litUe girl. 
yoT-"^°" ''"' ^""^ '""^ «^™^- I told 

"Shucks. Belty I He won't hurt ye." lauahet* 
Joe. a hlUc irritably. Then to David he turned 
again with some sharpness. 

"Play, won't ye? You said you'd playl" 
Yes. oh. yes. I'll play." faltered David 
bnngmg his violin hastily to position, and test- 

'"«Sf '"^"*? '^'"' ''"'«^" '*>"' "''ook a little. 

There! breathed Joe. settUng back in his 
chair with a contented sigh. "Now. play it 
again — what you did before." 
But David did not play what he did before 
at firet. There were no airy cloud-boats, no 
far-reaching sky. no birds, or murmuring forust 
brooks in his music this time. Ther* were cnlv 
the poverty-stricken room, the dirty street, the 
boy alone at the window, with his sightless eyes 
— the boy who never, never would know what 
a beautiful worid he lived in. 

Then suddenly to David came a new thought. 
This boy Joe. had said before that he under- 
stood. He had seemed to know that he was 
being told of the sunny skies and the forest 
wmds. the singing birds and the babbhng 
I3g 



I 



JUST DAVID 

brooks. Perhaps again now he would under- 
stand. 

What if, for those sightless eyes, one could 
create a world? 

Possibly never before had David played as 
he played then. It was as if upon those four 
quivering strings, he was laying the purple and 
gold of a thousand sunsets, the rose and amber 
of a thousand sunrises, the green of a boundless 
earth, the blue of a sky that reached to heaven 
itself — to make Joe understand. 

"Gee!" breathed Joe, when the music came 
to an end with a crashing chord. "Say, wa'n't 
that just great? Won't you let me, please, just 
touch that fiddle?" And David, looking into 
the blind boy's exalted face, knew that Joe had 
indeed — understood. 



CHAPTER X 

THE LADY OF THE ROSES 

It was a new world, indeed, that David created 
for Joe after that -a world that had to do 
with entrancing music where once was silence- 
delightful companionship where once was lone- 
liness; and f?^othsome cookies and doughnuts 
where Once was hunger. 

The Widow Glaspell, Joe's mother, worked 
out by the day, scrubbing and washing; and 
Joe, perforce, was left to the somewhat erratic 
and decidedly unskillful ministrations of Betty 
Betty was no worse, and no better, than any 
other untaught, irresponsible twelve-year-old 
girl, and it was not to be expected, perhaps 
that she would care to spend all the bright 
sunny hours shut up with her sorely afflicted 
and somewhat fretful brother. True, at noon 
she never failed to appear and prepare some- 
thing that passed for a dinner for herself and 
Joe. But the Glaspell larder was frequently 
almost as empty as were the hungry stomachs 
that looked to it for refreshment; and it would 
i3i 



JUST DAVID 

have taken a far more skillful cook than was the 
fly-away Betty to evolve anything from it that 
was either palatable or satisifying. 

With the coming of David into Joe's hfe all 
this was changed. First, there were the mu- 
sic and the companionship. Joe's father had 
"played in the band" in his youth, and (ac- 
cording to the Widow Glaspell) had been a 
"powerful hand for music." It was from him, 
presumably, that Joe had inherited his passion 
for melody and harmony ; and it was no wonder 
that David recognized so soon in the blind boy 
the spirit that made them kin. At the first 
stroke of David's bow, indeed, the dingy walls 
about them would crumble into nothingness, 
and together the two boys were off in a fairy 
world of loveliness and joy. 

Nor was listening always Joe's part. From 
"just touching" the violin — his first longing 
plea — he came to drawing a timid bow across 
the strings. In an incredibly short time, then, 
he was picking out bits of melody; and by 
the end of a fortnight David had brought his 
father's violin for Joe to practice on. 

"I can't give it to you — not for keeps," 
David had explained, a bit tremulously, "be- 

l32 



liiCi 



THE LADY OF THE ROSES 
cause it was daddy's, you know; and when I 
^e It, It seems almost as if I was seeing him 
But you may take it. Then you can have™ 
here to play on whenever you like " 

After that, in Joe's own hands lay the power 
he vToK''"""'"*°^"°^''--''d.forwTth 
iZr Tu '"'"P""^ ''" ''"^^ "° '"neliness. 
th. H ^^' ^t ^'""^ '»" "'^' David brought to 

cookies. Very early in his visits David had 
discovered, much to his surprise, that Joe and 
Betty were often hungry. 

"But why don't you go down to the store 
and buy something?" he had queried at onc^ 

Upon being told that there was no money to 
buy with. David's first impulse had been to 
bring several of the gold-pieces the nex tin^e 

ddeTEt r 7T "^"''' ^'••^"^'^^^ ^-''^r 

f/om^rhr-tr^^^^---' 

In his mountain home everything the house 

afforded m the way of food had Jways been 

reely given to the few strange.^ that founS 

their way to the cabin door. So now Da^3d 

i33 



I 



JUST DAVID 

had no hesitation in going to Mrs. Holly's 
pantry for supplies, upon the occasion of his 
next visit to Joe Glaspell's. 

Mrs. Holly, coming into the kitchen, found 
him emerging from the pantry with both hands 
full of cookies and doughnuts. 

"Why, David, what in the world does this 
mean?" she demanded. 

"They're for Joe and Betty," smiled David 
happily. 

"For Joe and — Bxii those doughnuts and 
cookies don't belong to you. They're mine!" 

"Yes, I know they are. I told them you had 
plenty," nodded David. 

" Plenty ! What if I have? " remonstrated Mrs. 
Holly, in growing indignation. "That doesn't 
mean that you can take — " Something in 
David's face stopped the words half-spoken. 

"You don't mean that I can't take them to 
Joe and Betty, do you? Why, Mrs. Holly, 
they're hungry! Joe and Betty are. They 
don't have half enough to eat. Betty said so. 
And we've got more than we want. There's 
food left on the table every day. Why, if you 
were hungry, would n't you want somebody to 
bring — " 

i3« 



THE LADY OF THE ROSES 

B"tMra.HoUy stopped him with a despair- 
ing gesture. ^ 

"There, there, never mind. Run along. Of 
course you can take them. I'm - I'm glad to 
have you " she fmished, in a desperate aUempt 
to drive from David's face that look of shock«l 
incredulity with which he was still reg^^ 

thwirn'^^" ^^ '^"- "°"y «"«'"Pt to 

btTYheHr, f"""°'"y *° '^'^ Glaspells: 
fw!t 1"^ *° "^'"'^ 't- She saw To it 
that thereafter, upon his visits to the house, he 
took only certain things and a certain amount! 
and invariably things of her own choosing. 

But not always toward the Glaspell shanty 
did David turn his steps. Very frequently It 
was m qui e another direction. He had been 
at the Holly farmhouse three weeks when he 
found his Lady of the Roses. 

He had passed quite through the village that 
day, and had come to a road that was new to 

and firm. Two huge granite posts topped with 
flaming nasturtiums marked the point where it 

thZ n "! '^' '""'" ^'^^^^y- Beyond 
these, as David soon found, it ran between 

i35 



JUST DAVID 

wide-spreading lawns and flowering shrubs, 
leading up the gentle slope of a hill. Where it 
led to, David did not know, but he proceeded 
unhesitatingly to try to find out. For some 
time he climbed the slope in silence, his violin, 
mute, under his arm; but the white road still 
lay in tantalizing mystery before him when a by- 
path offered the greater temptation, and lured 
him to explore its cool shadowy depths instead. 

Had David but known it, he was at Sunny- 
crest, Hinsdale's one "show place," the country 
home of its one really rich resident. Miss Bar- 
bara Holbrook. Had he also but known it, 
Miss Holbrook was not celebrated for her gra- 
ciousness to any visitors, certainly not to those 
who ventured to approach her otherwise than 
by a conventional ring at her front doorbell. 
But David did not know all this; and he there- 
fore very happily followed the shady path until 
he came to the Wonder at the end of it. 

The Wonder, in Hinsdale parlance, was only 
Miss Holbrook's garden, but in David's eyes it 
was fairyland come true. For one whole minute 
he could only stand like a very ordinary Uttle 
boy and stare. At the end of the minute he 
became himself once more; and being himself, 
r36 



THE LADY OF THE ROSES 

he expressed his deUght at once in the only way 
he knew how to do — by raising his violin and 
beginning to play. 

He had meant to tell of the limpid pool and 
of the arch of the bridge it reflected; of the 
terraced lawns and marble steps, and of the 
gleaming white of the sculptured nymphs and 
fauns; of the splashes of glorious crimson, yel- 
low, blush-pink, and snowy white against the 
green, where the roses rioted in luxurious bloom. 
He had meant, also, to tell of the Queen Rose of 
them all — the beauteous lady with hair like 
the gold of sunrise, and a gown like the shim- 
mer of the moon on water — of all this he had 
meant to tell; but he had scarcely begun to tell 
it at all when the Beauteous Lady of the Roses 
sprang to her feet and became so very much 
like an angry young woman who is seriously 
displeased that David could only lower his 
violin in dismay. 

"Why, boy, what does this mean?" she de- 
manded. 

David sighed a little impatiently as he came 
forward into the sunlight. 

"But I was just telling you," he remon- 
strated, "and you would not let me finish." 
i37 



i I 
I I 



JUST DAVID 
"Telling me!" 

"Yes, with my violin. CouW n'< you under- 
stand?" appealed the boy wistfully. "You 
looked as if you could 1" 
"Looked as if I could 1" 
"Yes. Joe understood, you see, and I was 
surprised when he did. But I was just sure 
you could —with all this to look at." 

The lady frowned. Half-unconsciously she 
glanced about her as if contemplating flight. 
Then she turned back to the boy. 

"But how came you here? Who are you?" 
she cried. 

"I'm David. I walked here through the lit- 
tle path back there. I did n't know where it 
went to, but I 'm so glad now I found out!" 

"Oh, are you!" murmured the lady, with 
slightly upUfted brows. 

She was about to tell him very coldly that 
now that he had found his way there he might 
occupy himself in finding it home again, when 
the boy inteiposed rapturously, his eyes sweep- 
ing the scene before him: — 

"Yes. I didn't suppose, anywhere, down 
here, there was a place one half so beauti- 
ful!" 

i38 



THE LADY OF THE ROSES 

An odd feeling of uncanniness sent a swift 
exclamaUon to the lady's lips. 

'"Down hereM What do you mean by that' 
You speak as if you came from — above " she 
almost laughed. 

"I did," returned David simply. "But even 
up there I never found anything quite like 
this, -with a sweep of his hands. -"nor 
like you. O Udy of the Roses." he fmished 
with an admiration that was as open as it was 
ardent. 

This time the lady laughed outright. She 
even blushed a little. 

fnHlf'T.K'?"'!^ ""*• ^^ F'atterer." she re- 
torted; but when you are older, young man. 
you wont make your compliments quite so 
broad, am no Lady of the Roses. I am Miss 
Holbrook; and - and I am not in the habit of 
receiving gentlemen callen. who are uninvited 
and -unannounced," she concluded, a little 
sharply. 

Pointless the shaft fell at David's feet. He 
had turned again to the beauties about him 
and at that moment he spied ihe sundial - 
something he had ne\T>r seen before 

"What is it?" he cried eagerly, hurrying 



JUST DAVID 

forward. "It isn't exactly pretty, and yet it 
looks as if 't were meant for — something." 

"It is. It is a sundial. It marks the time by 
the sun." 

Even as she spoke, Miss Holbrook wondered 
why she answered the question at all; why 
she did not send this small piece of noncha- 
lant impertinence about his business, as he 
so richly deserved. The next instant she found 
herself staring at the boy in amazement. With 
unmistakable ease, and with the trained accent 
of the scholar, he was reaiding aloud the Latin 
inscription on the dial: "'Horas non numerO 

nisi Serenas,' 'I count — no — hours but 

unclouded ones,'" he translated then, slowly, 
though with confidence. "That's pretty; but 
what does it mean — about 'counting'?" 

Miss Holbrook rose to her feet. 

"For Heaven's sake, boy, who, and what are 
you?" she demanded. "Can you read Latin?" 

"Why, of course! Can't you?" 

With a disdainful gesture Miss Holbrook 
swept this aside. 

"Boy, who are you?" she demanded again 
imperatively. 

"I'm David. I told you." 

1^0 



THE LADY OF THE ROSES 

"But David who? Where do you live?" 

The boy's face clouded. 

" I 'm David — just David. I live at Farmer 
Holly's now; but I did live on the mountain 
with — father, you know." 

A great light of understanding broke over 
Miss Holbrook's face. She dropped back into 
her seat. 

"Oh, I remember," she murmured. "You're 
the little — er — boy whom he took. I have 
heard the story. So that is who you are," she 
added, the old look of aversion coming back 
to her eyes. She had almost said "the little 
tramp boy" — but she had stopped in time. 

"Yes. And now what do Ihey mean, please, 
— those words, — ' I count no hours but un- 
clouded ones'?" 

Miss Holbrook stirred in her seat and 
frowned. 

"Why, it means what it says, of course, boy. 
A sundial counts its hours by the shadow the 
sun throws, and when there is no sun there is 
no shadow; hence it's only the sunny hours 
that are counted by the dial," she explained a 
little fretfully. 

David's face radiated delight. 
i4i 



JUST DAVID 

"Oh, but I like thati" he exclaimed. 
"You like it I" 

"Yes. I should like to be ooib myself, you 
know." 

"Well, really! And how, pray?" In spite of 
herself a faint gleam of interest came into Miss 
Holbrook's eyes. 

David laughed and dropped himself easily to 
the ground at her feet. He was holding his 
violin on his knees now. 

"Why, it would be such fun," he chuckled, 
"to just forget all about the hours when the 
sun did n't shine, and remember only the nice, 
pleasant ones. Now for me, there would n't be 
any hours, really, until after four o'clock, ex- 
cept little specks of minutes that I'd get in 
between when I did see something interesting." 

Miss Holbrook stared frankly. 

"What an extraordinary boy you are, to be 
sure," she murmured. "And what, may I ask, 
is it that you do every day until four o'clock, 
that you wish to forget?" 

David sighed. 

"Well, there are lots of things. I hoed pota- 
toes and com, first, but they're too big now, 
mostly; and I pulled up weeds, too, till they 
i4a 













;>,..Mt»-i;>.M. 



•IF I HAD MV WAY I U FOROKT THKM" 



THE LADY OF THE ROSES 
were gone. I've been picking up stones, lately, 
and clearing up the yard. Then, of course, 
there's always the woodbox to fiU. and the eggs 
to hunt, besides the chickens to feed, — though 
I don't mind them so much; but I do the other 
things, 'specially the weeds. They were so much 
prettier than the things I had to let grow, 
'most always." 
Miss Holbrook laughed. 
"Well, they were; and. really." persisted the 
boy. in answer to the merriment in her eyes; 
"now would n't it be nice to be like the sundial, 
and forget everything the sun did n't shine on*? 
Would n't you like it? Is n't there anything 
you want to forget?" 

Miss Holbrook sobered instantly. The change 
in her face was so very marked, indeed, that 
involuntarily David looked about for some- 
thing that might have cast upon it so great a 
shadow. For a long minute she did not speak; 
then very slowly, very bitterly, she said aloud 
— yet as if to herself: — 

"Yes. If I had my way I'd forget them 
every one — these hours; every single one!" 

"Oh, Lady of the Roses!" expostulated 
David in a voice quivering with shocked 
ii3 






If 



JUST DAVID 

dismay. "You don't mean — you can't mean 
that you don't have any — sun!" 

"I mean just that," bowed Miss Holbrook 
wearily, her eyes on the somber shadows of the 
pool; "just that!" 

David sat stunned, confounded. Across the 
marble steps and the terraces the shadows 
lengthened, and David watched them as the 
sun dipped behind the tree-tops. They seemed 
to make more vivid the chill and the gloom of 
the lady's words — more real the day that 
had no sun. After a time the boy picked up 
his violin and began to play, softly, and at first 
with evident hesitation. Even when his touch 
became more confident, there was still in the 
music a questioning appeal that seemed to find 
no answer — an appeal that even the player 
himself could not have explained. 

For long minutes the young woman and the 
boy sat thus in the twilight. Then suddenly 
the woman got to her feet. 

"Come, come, boy, what can I be thinking 
of?" she cried sharply. "I must go in and you 
must go home. Good-night." And she swept 
across the grass to the path that led toward 
the house. 



CHAPTER XI 

JACK AND JILL 

David was tempted to go for a second visit to 
his Lady of the Roses, but something he could 
not defme held him back. The lady was in his 
mind almost constantly, however; and very 
vivid to him was the picture of the garden 
though always it was as he had seen it last 
with the hush and shadow of twilight, and with 
the lady's face gloomily turned toward the sun- 
less pool. David could not forget that for her 
there were no hours to count; she had said it 
herself. He could not understand how this 
could be so; and the thought fiUed him with 
vague unrest and pain. 

Perhaps it was this restlessness that drove 
David to explore even more persistently the 
village Itself, sending him into new streets in 
search of something strange and interesting 
One day the sound of shouts and laughter drew 
him to an open lot back of the church where 
some boys were at play. 
David still knew very little of boys. In his 
i45 



1. 



« ! 



JUST DAVID 
mountain home he had never had them for 
playmates, and he had not seen much of them 
when he went with his father to the mountain 
village for supplies. There had been, it is true, 
he boy who frequently brought milk and egg 
to the cabin; but he had been veryr quiet and 
8hy, appeanng always afraid and anxious to get 
away. a. if he had been told not to stay. More 
recently, since David had been at the Holly 
farmhouse, his experience with boys had been 
even less satisfying. The boys -with the ex 
ception of blind Joe -.had veo^ clearly let it 
be understood that they had little use for a 
youth who could find nothing better to do than 

witiT^Hnf °"f l*" "°^^ ^^^ ^he streets 
with a fiddle under his arm. 

To^ay, however, there came a change. Per- 

they had deeded suddenly that it m^ht L 
good fun to satisfy their curiosity, anyway, re- 
gardless of consequences. Whatever it was. the 
kc^s hailed his appearance with wild shouts of 

"Golly, boys, look! Here's the fiddlin' kid " 

"SlSr^Jte"" """" '"-^ " ''« 

i46 



JACK AND JILL 

iS.7''^ '""•"^ delightedly; once more he had 
found some one who wanted him - and it was 
so mce to be wanted! Truth to tell. David had 
felt not a httle hurt at the persistent avoidance 
Of all those boys and girls of his own age 

H.n.i kT''"!!' '^° y"" '^°'" he said diffi- 
dently, but still with that beaming smile 

hun?pH°f^''' ^7' '''""''^ 8'**^""y as they 
humed fomard. Several had short sticks in 
their hands. One had an old tomato can with 

thmg that he was t^^mg to hold beneath his 

J'H-how do you do?'" they mimicked. 
How do you do, fiddlin' kid?" 
"I'm David; my name is David." The re- 
minder was graciously given, with a smile. 

.h^n^Tl K^^''**' "'* '^^^ '« David." 
chanted the boys, as if they wer. a comic-ope;a 

David laughed outright. 

"Oh. sing it again, sing it again!" he crowed. 

that sounded fine!" 

The boys stared, then sniffed disdainfully, 
and cast derisive glances into each othe/s 
eyes-it appeared that this little sissy tramp 

1^7 



JUST DAVID 

boy did not even know enough to discover 
when he was being laughed at I 

"David! David I His name is David," they 
jeered into his face again. "Come on, tune her 
up ! We want ter dance." 

"Play? Of course I'll play," cried David 
joyously, raising his violin and testing a string 
for its tone. 

"Here, hold on," yelled the tallest boy. 
"The Queen o' the Ballet ain't ready." And 
he cautiously pulled from beneath his coat a 
struggling kitten with a perforated bag tied 
over its head. 

"Sure! We want her in the middle," grinned 
the boy with the tin can. "Hold on till I get 
her train tied to her," he finished, trying to 
capture the swishing, fluffy tail of the frightened 
little cat. 

David had begun to play, but he stopped 
his music with a discordant stroke of the 
bow. 

"What are you doing? What is the matter 
with that cat?" he demanded. 

"'Matter'!" called a derisive voice. "Sure, 
nothin' 's the matter with her. She's the Queen 
o' the Ballet — she is!" 
i48 



JACK AND JILL 
"What do you mean?" cried David. At that 
moment the string bit hard into the captured 
tail, and the kitten cried out with the pain 
Look out! You're hurting her," cautioned 
David sharply. 

Only a laugh and a jeering woixi answered. 
Then the kitten, with the bag on its head and 
the tm can tied to its tail, was let warily to the 
ground, the tall boy sUU holding its back with 
both hands. 

"Ready now! Come on. play," he ocdeml; 
then we'll set her dancing." 
David's eyes flashed. 
"I will not play — for that." 
The boys stopped laughing suddenly 
"Eh? What?" They could scarcely have 

been more suiprised if the kitten itself had said 

the words. 

"I say I won't play - I can't play - unless 
you let that cat go." 

"Hoity-toity! Won't ye hear that now?" 
laughed a mocking voice. "And what if we say 
we won't let her go, eh?" 

"Then I'U make you," vowed David, aflame 
with a newborn something that seemed to have 
sprung full-grown into being. 
i4g 



JUST DAVID 

"Yow!" hooted the tallest boy, removing 
both hands from the captive kitten. 

The kitten, released, began to back franti- 
cally. The can, dangling at its hc^b. rMtled 
and banged and thumped, until the fH(^tened 
little creature, crazed with terror, beewne noth- 
ing but a V iriing mass of misery. The boys, 
formed now into a crowiag cirde of delight, kept 
the kittci. within bounds, and flouted David 
mercilessly. 

"Ah, ha!— stop us, will ye? Why don't ye 
stop us?" they gibed. 

For a moment David stood without move- 
ment, his eyes staring. The next instant he 
turned and ran. The jeers became a chorus of 
triumphant shouts then — but not for long. 
David had only hurried to the woodpile to lay 
down his violin. He came back then, on the 
run — and before the tallest boy could catch 
his breath he was felled by a stinging blow on 
the jaw. 

Over by the church a small girl, red-haired 

and red-eyed, clambered hastily over the fence 

behind which for long minutes she had been 

crying and wringing her hands. 

"He '11 be killed, he '11 be killed," she moaned. 

i5o 



JACK AND JILL 



"And it's my fault, 



' kitty - 



cause it' 
my kitty " she sobbed, straining „„ eyes lo 
catch a glimpse of the kitten's protector in the 
squirming mass of legs and arms. 

The kitten, unheeded now by the boys was 
pursuing its backward whirl to destruction 
some distance away, and very soon the Utile 
girl discovered her. With a bound and a chok- 
mg cry she .cached the kitten, removed the bag 
and unbound the cruel string. Then, sitting on 
the ground, a safe distance away, she soothed 
the palpitating little bunch of gray fur and 
watched with fearful eyes the fight. 

And what a fight it was! There was no que*- 
tion, of course, as to its final outcome, with six 
against one; but meanwhile the one was giving 
the s« the surprise of their lives in the shape 
of well-dealt blows and skillful twists and turns 
that caused their own strength and weight to 
react upon themselves in a most astonishing 
fashion. The one unmistakably was getting the 
worst of It, however, when the little giri, after 
a hurried dash to the street, brought back 
with her to the rescue a tall, smooth-shaven 
young man whom she had hailed from afar as 
Jack." 

i5i 



JUST DAVID 

Jack put a stop to things at once. With 
vigorous jerks and pulls he unsnarled the writh- 
ing mass, boy by boy, each one of whom, upon 
catching sight of his face, slunk hurriedly away, 
as if glad to escape so lightly. There was left 
finally upon the ground only David alone. But 
when David did at last appear, the little girl 
burst into tears anew. 

"Oh, Jack, he's killed— I know he's killed," 
she wailed. "And he was so nice and — and 
pretty. And now — look at himl Ain't he a 
sight?" 

David was not killed, but he was — a sight. 
His blouse was torn, his tie was gone, and his 
face and hands were covered with dirt and 
blood. Above one eye was an ugly-looking 
lump, and below the other was a red bruise. 
Somewhat dazedly he responded to the man's 
helpful hand, pulled himself upright, and 
looked about him. He did not see the little girl 
behind him. 

"Where's the cat?" he asked anxiously. 

The unexpected happened then. With a sob- 
bing cry the Httle girl flung herself upon him, 
cat and all. 

"Here, right here," she choked. "And it was 
i5a 



mii 



JACK AND JILL 
you who saved her — my Juliette I And I'll 
love you, love you, love you always for iti" 

"There, there, JiU," interposed the man a 
httle hurriedly. "Suppose we first show our 
gralitude by seeing if wc can't do something 
to make our young warrior here more com- 
fortable." And he began to brush off with his 
handkerchief some of the accumulated dirt. 

"Why can't we take him homr. lack, and 
clean him up 'fore other folks see him?" sug- 
gested the girl. 
The boy turned quickly. 
"Did you c. '1 him 'Jack'?" 
"Yes." 

"And he called you 'JiU'?" 
"Yes." 

"The real 'Jack and Jill' that 'went up the 
hill'?" 

The man and the girl laughed; but the girl 
shook her head as she answered, — 

"Not really— though we do go up a hill all 
right, every day. But those are n't even our 
own names. We just call each other that for fun. 
Don't you ever call things— for fun?" 

David's face lighted up in spite of the dirt 
the lump, and the bruise. 
i53 



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JUST DAVID 

"Oh, do you do that?" he breathed. "Say, 
I just know I'd like to play to you! You'd 
understand!" 

"Oh, yes, and he plays, too," explained the 
little girl, turning to the man rapturously. "On 
a fiddle, you know, like you." 

She had not finished her sentence before 
David was away, hurrying a httle unsteadily 
across the lot for his violin. When he came back 
the man was looking at him with an anxious 
frown. 

" Suppose you come home with us, boy," he 
said. " It is n't far — through the hill pasture, 
'cross lots, — and we'll look you over a bit. 
That lump over your eye needs attention." 

"Thank you," beamed David. "I'd like to 
go, and — I'm glad you want me!" He spoke 
to the man, but he looked at the little red- 
headed girl, who still held the gray kitten in 
her arms. 



CHAPTER XII 

ANSWERS THAT DID NOT ANSWER 

"Jack and Jill," it appeared, were a brother 
and sister who lived in a tiny house on a hill 
directly across the creek from Sunnycrest. Be- 
yond this David learned little until after bumps 
and bruises and dirt had been carefully attended 

to. He had then, too, some questions to nswer 
concerning himself. 

"And now, if you please," began the man 
smilingly, as he surveyed the boy with an eye 
that could see no further service to be rendered, 
"do you mind telling me who you are, and how 
you came to be the center of attraction for the 
blows and cuffs of six boys?" 

" I 'm David, and I wanted the cat," returned 
the boy simply. 

"Well, that's direct and to the point, to say 
the least," laughed the man. "Evidently, how- 
ever, you're in the habit of being that. But, 
David, there were six of them, — those boys,— 
and some of them were larger than you " 

"Yes, sir." 

i55 






JUST DAVID 

"And they were so bad and cruel," chimed 
in the little girl. 

The man hesitated, then questioned slowly: 

"And may I ask you where you — er — 
learned to — fight like that?" 

" I used to box with father. He said I must 
first be well and strong. He taught me jiujitsu, 
too, a little; but I could n't make it work very 
well — with so many." 

"I should say not," adjudged the man 
grimly. "But you gave them a surprise or two, 
I '11 warrant," he added, his eyes on the cause 
of the trouble, now curled in a little gray bunch 
of content on the window sill. "But I don't 
know yet who you are. Who is your father? 
Where does he live?" 

David shook his head. As was always the 
case when his father was mentioned, his face 
grew wistful and his eyes dreamy. 

"He doesn't live here anywhere," mur- 
mured the boy. "In the far country he is 
waiting for me to come to him and tell him of 
the beautiful world I have found, you know." 

"Eh? What?" stammered the man, not 
knowing whether to believe his eyes, or his 
ears. This boy who fought like a demon and 
i56 



ANSWERS THAT DID NOT ANSWER 

talked like a saint, and who, though battered 
and bruised, prattled of the "beautiful world" 
he had found, was most disconcerting. 

"Why, Jack, don't you know?" whispered 
the little girl agitatedly. "He's the boy at 
Mr. Holly's that they took." Then, still more 
softly: "He's the little tramp boy. His father 
died in the barn." 

"Oh," said the man, his face clearing, and 
his eyes showing a quick sympathy. "You're 
the boy at the Holly farmhouse, are you?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"And he plays the fiddle everywhere," vol- 
unteered the little girl, with ardent admira- 
tion. "If you hadn't been shut up sick just 
now, you'd have heard him yourself. He plays 
everywhere — everywhere he goes." 

"Is that so?" murm.ured Jack politely, shud- 
dering a little at whit he fancied would come 
f'-^rn a violin played by a boy like the one be- 
.-•- him. (Jack could play the violin himself 
a httle — enough to know it some, and love it 
more.) " Hm-m ; well, and what else do you do? " 
"Nothing, except to go for walks and read." 
"Nothing! — a big boy like you — and on 
Simeon Holly's farm?" Voice and manner 

l57 



JUST DAVID 
fchowed that Jack was not unacquainted with 
Simeon Holly and his methods and opinions. 

David laughed gleefully. 

"Oh. of course, really I do lots of things, 
only I don't count those any more. 'Horas non 
numero j serenas.' you know," he quoted 
pleasantly, smiling into the man's astonished 
eyes. 

"Jack, what was that — what he said''" 
whispered the little girl. "It sounded foreign. 
Is he foreign?" 

"You -ve got mc, Jill," retorted the man, with 
a laughing grimace. "Heaven only knows what 
he IS — I don't. What he said was Latin; I do 
happen to know that. Still" — he turned to 
the boy ironically— "of course you know the 
translation of that," he said. 

"Oh, yes. 'I count no hours but unclouded 
ones'— and I liked that. 'T was on a sundial, 
you know; and I'm going to be a sundial, and 
not count the hours I don't like— while I'm 
pulling up weeds, and hoeing potatoes, and 
picking up stones, and all that. Don't you 
see?" 

For a moment the man stared dumbly. 
Then he threw back his head and laughed. 
i58 






ANSWERS THAT DID NOT ANSWER 

"Well, by George!" he muttered. "Bv 

George!" And he laughed again. Then: "And 

did your father teach you that, too?" he 

asked. 

"Oh. no. -well, he taught me Latin, and 
so of course I could read it when I found it. 
But those special words I got off the sundial 
where my Lady of the Roses lives " 

she?"^-"" "^^''^ °^ ^^^ ^°'''' ^"^ ^''° •« 
"Why. don't you know? You live right in 
sigh of her house." cried David, pointing to 
the towers of Sunnycrest that showed above 
the trees. "It's over there she lives. I know 
hose towers now. and I look for them wherever 
I go. I love them. It makes me see all over 
again the roses— and her." 
"You mean — Miss Holbrook'" 
The voice was so different from the genial 
ones that he had heard before that David 
looked up in surprise. 

"Yes; she said that was her name." he an- 
swered, wondering at the indefinable change 
that had come to the man's face 

There was a moment's pause, then the man 
rose to his feet. 

i5o 



JUST DAVID 

brilSr*' ''°" '"''^^ °°'' '' '''^''" ''^ «"•'«'» 
"Not much — some. I — i think T'li h„ 

jng for his vmn, and unconsciously showt 
by^lns manner the sudden .hill in the aZs' 

The little girl spoke then. She overwhetaied 

teld'H;''' ''r'^' ^"^ P°'"*«d t" the con- 
tented kitten on the window sill. True she did 
not tell him th.. time that she wou dT; ove 
^e h.m always: hut she beamed upon hS 

aTalSotn"--^^^-"-- 

to come again. Not until he had quite Sed 
the bo torn of the hill did he remember that tSe 

r'Asnt?^' f' ''"''"' -thing at h 
a .As David recollected him. indeed, he had 
ast been seen standing beside one of the ve- 
anda posts, with gloomy eyes fixed n^ the 
towers of Sunnycrest that showed red-gdd 

ttg In *^""'°'^ '" '""^ '"^ '^^^ "^ ^'>-°<> 
It was a bad half-hour that David spent at 
i6o 




REST 



f 



ANSWERS -HAT DID NOT ANSWER 

the Molly farmhouse in explanation of his torn 
blouse and bruised face. Farmer Hol.'y did not 
approve of fights, and he salt so. very sternly 
indeed. Even Mrs. Holly, who was usually so 
kinc- to hir-i. let David understand that he was 
in deep disgrace, though she was very tender to 
his wounds. 

David did venture to ask her, however, be- 
fore he went upstairs to bed: — 

"Mrs. Holly, who are those people — Jack 
and Jill — that were so good to me this after- 
noon?" 

"They are John Gumsey ano his sister, 
Juha; but the whole town knows them by the 
r.nmes they long .>go gave themselves. 'Jack' 
and 'Jill.'" 

"And do they live all alone in the little 
house?" 

"Yes, except for the Widow Glaspell, who 
comes m several times a week, I believe to 
cook and wash and sweep. They are n't very 
happy, I'm afraid, David, and I'm glad you 
could rescue ! le little girl's kitten for her — but 
you must n't fight. No good can come of ficht- 
ing!" 

"I got the cat — by fighting." 
i6i 



JUST DAVID 

"Ye». yes, I know; but—" She did not 
finish her sentence, and David was only waiting 
for a pause to ask anotiier question. 

"Why are n't they happy, Mrs. Holly?" 

"Tut, tut, David, it's a long stori', and you 
would n't understand it if I told it. It's only 
thnt they're all alone in the world, and Jack 
Gumsey isn't well. He must be thirty years 
old now. He had bright hopes not so long ago 
studying law, or something of the sort, in the 
city. Then his father died, and his mother, and 
he lost his health. Something ails his lungs, 
and the doctors sent him here to be out of 
doors. He even sleeps out of doors, they say. 
Anyway, he's here, and he's making a home 
for his sister; but, of course, with his hopes and 
ambitions — But thc.j, Javid, you don't 
understand, of course!" 

"Oh, yes, I do," breathed David, his eyes 
pensively turned toward a shadowy comer. 
"He found his work out in the world, and then 
he had to stop and could n't do it. Poor Mr. 
Jack!" 



CHAFI -R XIII 

A SURPRISE FOR MR. JACK 

Life at the Holly farmliouse was not what it 
had been. . .,c coming of David had inlrc 
duced new elements that promised complica- 
tions. Not because he was another mouth to 
feed - Simeon Holly was not worrying about 
that part any longer. Crops showed good 
prom.se. and all ready .. the bank even now 
was the necessary money to cove.- the dreaded 
note, due the last of August. The co,r ^licating 
elements in regard to David were quite 
another nature. 

To Simeon Holly the boy was a riddle to be 
sternly solved. To Ellen Holly he was an ever- 
present reminder of the little boy of long ago 
and as such was to be loved and trained into a 
semblance of what that boy might have be- 
come To Perry Larson, David was the "dernd- 
est checkerboad of sense an' nonsense goin'" 
— a game over which to chuckle. 

At the Holly farmhouse they could not under- 
derstand a boy who would leave a supper for a 
i63 



JUST DAVID 
sunset, or who preferred a book to a toy pistol 
— as Perry Larson found out was the case on 
the Fourth of July; who picked Howers, like a 
girl, for the table, yet who unhesitatingly struck 
the first blow in a fight with six antagonists; 
who would not go fishing because the fishes 
would not hke it, nor hunting for any sort of 
wild thing that had life; who hung entranced 
for an hour over the "millions of lovely striped 
bugs" in a field of early potatoes, and who 
promptly and stubbornly refused to sprinkle 
those same "lovely bugs" with Paris green 
when discovered at his worship. All this was 
most perplexing, to say the least. 

Yet David worked, and worked well, and in 
most cases he obeyed orders willingly. He 
learned much, too, that was interesting and 
profitable; nor was he the only one that made 
strange discoveries during those July days. 
The Hollys themselves learned much. They 
learned that the rose of sunset and the gold of 
sunrise were worth looking at; and that the 
massing of the thunderheads in the west meant 
more than just a shower. They learned, too, 
that the green of the hilltop and of the far- 
reaching meadow was more than grass, and 



A SURPRISE FOR MR. JACK 
that the purple haze along the horizon was 
more than the mountains that lay between 
them and the next State. They were beginning 
to see the worid with David's eyes 

There were, too, the long twilights and even- 
ings when David, on the wings of his viohn, 
would speed away to his mountain home, leav- 
ing behmd him a man and a woman who seemed 
to themselves to be listening to the voice of 
a curly-headed, rosy-cheeked lad who once 
played at their knees and nestled in their arms 
when the day was done. And here. too. the 
HoUys were learning; though the thing thus 
learned was hidden deep in their hearts 

It was not long after David's first visit that 
the boy went again to "The House that Jack 
Built, as the Gumseys called their tiny home 
(Though m reality it had been Jack's father who 
had built the house. Jack and Jill, however 
did not always deal with realities.) It was not 
a pleasant afternoon. There was a light mist 
m the air. and David was without his violin 

I came to — to inquire for the cat — Juli- 
ette, he began, a little bashfully. "I thought 
Id rather do that than read to-day." he ex- 
plained to Jill in the doorway. 
i65 



JUST DAVID 

"Good! I'm so glad I I hoped you'd come," 
the little girl welcomed him. "Come in and — 
and see Juliette," she added hastily, remem- 
bering at the last moment that her brother had 
not looked with entire favor on her avowed 
admiration for this strange little boy. 

Juliette, roused from her nap, was at first 
inclined to resent her visitor's presence. In 
five minutes, however, she was purring in his 
lap. 

The conquest of the kitten once accom- 
plished, David looked about him a little rest- 
lessly. He began to wonder why he had come. 
He wished he had gone to see Joe Glaspell in- 
stead. He wished that Jill would not sit and 
stare at him like that. He wished that she 
would say something — anything. But Jill, 
apparently struck dumb with embarrassment, 
was nervously twisting the corner of her apron 
into a little knot. David tried to recollect what 
he had talked about a few days before, and he 
wondered why he had so enjoyed himself then. 
He wished that something would happen — 
anything! — and then from an inner room 
came the sound of a violin. 

David raised his head. 
i66 



A SURPRISE FOR MR. JACK 
"It's Jack," stammered the little girl — who 
also had been wishing something would hap- 
pen. He plays, same as you do, on the vio- 

" Docs he?" beamed David. "But—" He 
paused, listening, a quick frown on his face 

Over and over the violin was playing a single 
phrase -and the variations in the phrase 
showed the indecision of the fingers and of the 
mind that controlled them. Again and again 
with irritating, sameness, yet with a still more 
irritating difference, came the succession of 
notes. And then David sprang to his feet, 
placing Juliette somewhat unceremoniously on 
t_he floor, much to that petted young autocrat's 
disgust. 

"Here, where is he? Let me show him " 
cried the boy; and at the note of command in 
his voice. Jill involuntarily rose and opened the 
door to Jack's den. 

"Oh, please, Mr. Jack," burst out David 
hurrying into the room. "Don't you see? You 
don't go at that thing right. If you'll just let 
me show you a minute, we'll have it fixed in 
no time!" 

The man with the violin stared, and lowered 
167 



JUST DAVID 

his bow. A slow red came to his face. The 
phrase was pecuUarly a difficult one, and beyond 
him, as he knew; but that did not make the 
present intrusion into his privacy any the more 
welcome. 

"Oh, will we, indeed!" he retorted, a little 
sharply. "Don't trouble yourself, I beg of you, 
boy." 

"But it is n't a mite of trouble, truly," urged 
David, with an ardor that ignored the sarcasm 
in the other's words. "I want to do it." 

Despite his annoyance, the man gave a short 
laugh. 

"Well, David, I believe you. And I'll war- 
rant you'd tackle this Brahms concerto as non- 
chalantly as you did those sk hoodlums with 
the cat the other day — and expect to win out, 
too!" 

"But, truly, this is easy, when you know 
how," laughed the boy. "See!" 

To his surprise, the man found himself re- 
linquishing the violin and bow into the slim, 
eager hands that reached for them. The next 
moment he fel' 'jack in amazement. Clear, dis- 
tinct, yet ccnected like a string of rounded 
pearls fell the troublesome notes from David's 
i68 



A SURPRISE FOR MR. JACK 

*'7"/.y°\''*'" '™''^ ^^^ ^y again, and 
played the phrase a second time, more slowly 
and with deliberate emphasis at the difficult 
part. Then, as if in answer to some irresistible 
Simmons within him, he dashed into the next 
phrase and, with marvelous technique, played 
quite through the rippling cadenza that com- 
pleted the movement. 

"Well, by George!" breathed the man daz- 
edly, as he took the offered vioUn. The next 
moment he had demanded vehemently: "For 
Heaven's sake, who are you, boy?" 

David's face wrinkled in grieved surprise 

"Why, I 'm David. Don't you remember? 
I was here just the other day!" 

"Yes, yes; but who taught you to play like 

"Father." 

"'Father'!" The man echoed the word with 
a gesture of comic despair. "First Latin, then 
Jiujitsu, and now the violin! Boy, who was 
your father?" 

David lifted his head and frowned a Uttle 
He had been questioned so often, and so un- 
sympathetically, about his father that he was 
beginning to resent it. 

i6g 






JUST DAVID 

"He was daddy — just daddy; and I loved 
him dearly." 

"But what was his name?" 

" I don't know. We did n't seem to have a 
name like — like yours down here. Anyway, 
if we did, I did n't know what it was." 

"But, David," — the man was speaking 
very gently now. He had motioned the boy to a 
low seat by his side. The httle girl was standing 
near, her eyes aUght with wondering interest. 
"He must have had a name, you know, just 
the same. Did n't you ever hear any one call 
him anything? Think, now." 

"No." David said the single word, and 
turned his eyes away. It had occurred to him, 
since he had come to live in the valley, that 
perhaps his father did not want to have his 
name known. He remembered that once the 
milk-and-eggs boy had asked what to call him; 
and his father had laughed and answered: "I 
don't see but you'll have to call me 'The Old 
Man of the Mountain,' as they do down in the 
village." That was the only time David could 
recollect hearing his father say anything about 
his name. At the time David had not thought 
much about it. But since then, down here 
170 




1 1 



"HB MUST HAVE HAD A NAME" 



,M 



ii 



A SURPRISE FOR MR. JACK 
where they appeared to think a name was so 
important, he had wondered if possibly his 
father had not preferred to keep his to himself. 
If such were the case, he was glad now that he 
did not know this name, so that he might not 
have to tell all these inquisitive people who 
asked so many questions about it. He was 
glad, too, that those men had not been able to 
read his father's name at the end of his other 
note that first morning— ii his father really 
did not wish his name to be known. 

"But, David, think. Where you lived, 
was n't there ever anybody who called him by 
name?" 

David shook his head. 

"I told you. We were all alone, father and 
I, in the little house far up on the mountain." 

"And — your mother? " 

Again David shook his head. 

"She is an angel-mother, and angel-mothers 
don't live in houses, you know." 

There was a moment's pause; then gently 
the man asked: — 

"And you always lived there?" 

"Six years, father said." 

"And before that?" 
171 



: 



JUST DAVID 

"I don't remember." There was a touch of 
injured reserve in the boy's voiv;e which the 
man was quick to perceive. He took the hint 
at once. 

"He must have been a wonderful man — 
your father!" he exclaimiv). 

The boy turned, his eyes luminous with 
feeling. 

"He was — he was perfect! But they — 
down here — don't seem to know — or care," 
he choked. 

"Oh, but that's because they don't under- 
stand," soothed the man. "Now, tell me — 
vou must have practiced a lot to play like 
that." 

"I did — but I liked it." 

"And what else did you do? and how did you 
happen to come — down here?" 

Once again David told his story, more fully, 
perhaps, this time than ever before, because of 
the sympathetic ears that were listening. 

"But now," he finished wistfully, "it's all 
so different, and I'm down here alone. Daddy 
went, you know, to the far coimtry; and he 
can't come back from there." 

"Who told you — that?" 
172 



A SURPRISE FOR MR. JACK 
" Daddy himself He wrote it to me." 
"Wrote it to youl" cried the man, sitting 
suddenly erect. 

"Yes. It was in his pocket, you see. They 
— found it." David's voice was very low, and 
not quite steady. 
"David, may I see — that letter?" 
The boy hesitated; then slowly he drew it 
from his pocket. 
"Yes, Mr. Jack. I'll let you see it." 
Reverently, tenderly, but very eagerly the 
man took the notii and read it through, hoping 
somewhere to find a name that would help 
solve the mystery. With a sigh he handed it 
back. His eyes were wet. 

"Thank you, David. That is a beautiful 
letter," he said softly. "And I believe you'll 
do it some day, too. You'll go to him with 
your violin at your chin and the bow drawn 
across the strings to tell him of the beautiful 
world you have found." 

"Yes, sir," said David simply. Then, with 

a suddenly radiant smile: "And now I can't help 

finding it a beautiful world, you know, 'cause 

I don't count the hours I don't like." 

"You don't what? — oh, I remember," re- 

173 



I! 



JUST DAVID 

turned Mr. Jack, a quick change coming to his 
face. 

"Yes, the sundial, you know, where my Lady 
of the Roses lives." 

"Jack, what is a sundia ' broke in Jill 
eagerly. 

Jack turned, as if in relief. 

"Hullo, girlie, you there? — nnd so still all 
this time? Ask David. He'll tell you what 
a sundial is. Suppose, anyhow, thai you two 
go out on the piazza now. I've got — er — 
some work to do. And the sun itself is out; 
see? — through the trees there. It came oxf 
just to say 'good-night,' I'm sure. Run b i. 
quick!" And he playfully drove them from le 
room. 

Alone, he turned and sat down at his desk. 
His work was before him, but he did not do it. 
His eyes were out of the >v indovir on the golden 
tops of the ♦overs of Sun. ycrest. Motionless, 
he watched them until they turned gray-white 
in the twilight. Then he picked up his pencil 
and began to write feverishly. He went to the 
window, however, as David stepped off the 
versnda, and called mtTily: - 

"Remember, boy, that when there's another 
174 



A SURPRISE FOR MR. JACK 

note that badlcs me, I'm going to send for 
you." 

"He's coming anyhow. I asked him," -n- 
nounced Jill. 

And David laughed back a happy "Of course 
I ami" 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE TOWER WINDOW 

It is not to be expected that when one's 
thoughts lead so persistently to a certain place, 
one's feet will not follow, if they can; and 
David's could — so he went to seek his Lady 
of the Roses. 

At four o'clock one afternoon, with his violin 
under his arm, he traveled the firm white road 
until he came to the shadowed path that led 
to the garden. He had decided that he would 
go exactly as he went before. He expected, in 
consequence, to find his Lady exactly as he had 
found her before, sitting reading under the 
roses. Great was his surprise and disappoint- 
ment, therefore, to find the garden with no one 
in it. 

He had told himself that it was the sundial, 
the roses, the shimmering pool, the garden itself 
that he wanted to see; but he knew now that 
it was the lady — his Lady of the Roses. He 
did not even care to play, though all around 
him was the beauty that had at first so charmed 
176 



THE TOWER WINDOW 

his eye. Very slowly he walked across the 
sunlit, empty space, and entered the path that 
led to the house. In his mind was no defmite 
plan; yet he walked on and on, untU he came 
to the wide lawns surrounding the house itself. 
He stopped then, entranced. 

Stone upon stone the majestic pile raised 
itself until it was etched, clean-cut, against the 
deep blue of the sky. The towers — his towers 
— brought to David's lips a cry of delight. 
They were even more enchanting here than 
when seen from afar over the tree-tops, and 
David gazed up at them in awed wonder. From 
somewhere came the sound of music — a curi- 
ous sort of music that David had never heard 
before. He listened intently, trying to place it; 
then slowly he crossed the lawn, ascended the 
imposing stone steps, and softly opened one of 
the narrow screen doors before the wide-open 
French window. 

Once within the room David drew a long 
breath of ecstasy. Beneath his feet he felt the 
velvet softness of the green moss of the woods. 
Above his head he saw a sky-like canopy of 
blue carrying fleecy clouds on which floated 
Uttle pink-and-white children with wings, just 
177 



JUST DAVID 

as David himself had so often wished that he 
could float. On all sides silken hangings, like 
the green of swaying vines, half-hid other 
hangings of feathery, snowflake lace. Every- 
where mirrored walls caught the light and re- 
flected the potted ferns and palms so that 
David looked fiown endless vistas of loveliness 
that seemed for all the world Uke the long sun- 
flecked aisles beneath the tall pines of his 
mountain home. 

The music that David had heard at first had 
long since stopped; but David had not noticed 
that. He stood now in the center of the room, 
awed, and trembling, but enraptured. Then 
from somewhere came a voice — a voice so 
cold that it sounded as if it had swept across a 
field of ice. 

"Well, boy, when you have quite finished 
your inspection, perhaps you will tell me to 
what I am indebted for this visit," it said. 

David turned abruptly. 

"0 Lady of the Roses, why did n't you tell 
me it was like this — in here?" he breathed. 

"Well, really," murmured the lady in the 
doorway, stiffly, "it had not occurred to me 
that that was hardly — necessary." 
178 



THE TOWER WINDOW 

"But it was! — don't you see? This is new, 
all new. I never saw anything like it before; 
and I do so love new things. It gives tne some- 
thing new to play; don't you understand?" 

"New — to play?" 

"Yes — on my vioUn," explained David, a 
little breathlessly, softly testing his viohn. 
"There's always something new in this, you 
know," he hurried on, as he tightened one of 
the strings, "when there's anything new outside. 
Now, listen! You see I don't know myself just 
how it's going to sound, and I'm always so 
anxious to fmd out." And with a joyously rapt 
face he began to play. 

"But, see here, boy, — you mustn't! You 
— " The words died on her lips; nnd, to her 
unbounded amazement. Miss Barbara Hol- 
brook, who had intended peremptorily to send 
this persistent little tran p boy about his busi- 
ness, found herself listening to a melody so 
compelling in its sonorous beauty that she was 
left almost speechless at its close. It was the 
boy who spoke. 

"There, I told you my violin would know 
what to say!" 
"'What to say'! — well, that's more than I 
179 



JUST DAVID 

do," laughed Miss Holbrook, a little hysteri- 
cally. "Boy, come here and tell me who you 
are." And she led the way to a low divan that 
stood near a harp at the far end of the room. 

It was the same story, told as David had 
told it to Jack and Jill a few days before, only 
this time David's eyes were roving admiringly 
all about the room, resting oftenest on the harp 
so near him. 

"Did that make the music that I heard?" 
he asked eagerly, as soon as Miss Holbrook's 
questions gave him opportunity. "It's got 
strings." 

"Yes. I was playing when you came in. I 
saw you enter the window. Really, David, are 
you in the habit of walking into people's houses 
like this? It is most disconcerting — to their 
owners." 

"Yes — no — well, sometimes." David's eyes 
were still on the harp. "Lady of the Roses, won't 
you please play again — on that?" 

"David, you are incorrigible! Why did you 
come into my house like this?" 

"The music said 'come'; and the towers, too. 
You see, I know the towers." 

"You know theml" 

i8o 



I! !-:« i: 




THE TOWER WINDOW 
"Yes. I can see them from so many places, 
and I always watch for them. They show best 
of anywhere, though, from Jack and Jill's. 
And now won't you play?" 

Miss Holbrook had almost risen to her feet 
when she turned abruptly. 
"From — where?" she asked. 
"From Jack and Jill's — the House that 
Jack Built, you know." 

"You mean — Mr. John Gurnsey's house?" 
A deeper color had come into Miss Holbrook's 
cheeks. 

"Yes. Over there at the top of the little hill 
across the brook, you know. You can't see 
their house from here, but from over there we 
can see the towers finely, and the little window 
— Oh, Lady of the Roses," he broke off ex- 
citedly, at the new thought that had come to 
him, "if we, now, were in that little window, 
we could see their house. Let's go -^p. Can't 
we?" 

Explicit as this was, Miss Holbrook evidently 
did not hear, or at least did not understand, 
this request. She settled back on the divan, 
indeed, almost determinedly. Her cheeks were 
very red now. 

i8i 



JUST DAVID 

"And do you know — this Mr. Jack?" she 
asked hghlly. 

"Yes, and Jill, too. Don't you? 1 like them, 
too. Do you know them?" 

Again Miss Holbrook ignored the question 
put to her. 

"And did you walk into their house, unan- 
nounced and uninvited, like this?" she queried. 

"No. He asked me. You see he wanted to 
gel off some of the dirt and blood before other 
folks saw me." 

"The dirt and — and — why, David, what 
do you mean? What was it — an accident?" 

David frowned and reflected a moment. 

"No. I did it on purpose. I /larf to, you see," 
he finally elucidated. "But there were six of 
them, and I got the worst of it." 

"David!" Miss Holbrook's voice was horri- 
fied. "You don't mean — a fight!" 

"Yes'm. I wanted the cat — and I got it, 
but I would n't have if Mr. Jack had n't come 
to help me." 

"Oh! So Mr. Jack — fought, too?" 

"Well, he pulled the others off, and of course 
that helped me," explained David truthfully. 
"And then he took me home — he and Jill." 
i8a 



THE TOWER WINDOW 

"JUl! Was she in it?" 

"No, only her cat. They had tied a bag over 
its head and a tin can to its tail, and of course I 
could n't let them do that. They were hurling 
her. And now. Lady of the Roses, won't you 
please play?" 

For a moment Miss Holbrook did not speak. 
She was gazing at David with an odd look in 
her eyes. At last she drew a long sigh. 

"David, you are the — the limit!" she 
breathed, as she rose and seated herself at the 
harp. 

David was manifestly delighted with her 
playing, and begged for more when she had 
finished; but Miss Holbrook shook her head. 
She seemed to have grown suddenly restless, 
and she moved about the room calling David's 
attention to something new each moment. 
Then, very abruptly, she suggested that they 
go upstairs. From room to room she hurried 
the boy, scarcely listening to his ardent com- 
ments, or answering his still more ardent 
questions. Not until they reached the highest 
tower room, indeed, did she sink wearily into 
a chair, and seem for a moment at rest. 

David looked about him in surprise. Even 
i83 



JUST DAVID 

his untrained eye could sec that he had entered 
a different world. There were no sumptuous 
ruf?s, no silken hangings; no mirrors, no snow- 
llake curtains. There were books, to be sure, 
but besides those there were only a plain low 
table, a work-basket, and three or four wooden- 
seated though comfortable chairs. With in- 
creasing wonder he looked into Miss IIol- 
brook's ejes. 

"Is it here that you stay — all day?" he 
asked difiidently. 

Miss Holbrook's face turned a vivid scarlet. 
■ "Why, David, what a question! Of course 
not! Why should you think I did?" 

"Nothing; only I've been wondering all the 
time I 've been here how you could — with all 
those beautiful things around you downstairs 
— say what you did." 

"Say what? — when?" 

"That other day in the garden — about all 
your hours being cloudy ones. So I did n't 
know to-day but what you lived up here, same 
as Mrs. Holly does n't use her best rooms; and 
that was why your hours were all cloudv ones." 

With a sudden movement Miss .olbrook 
rose to her feet. 

i84 



THE TOWER WINDOW 

"Nonsense, David! You shouldn't always 
remember everything that people say to you. 
Come, you have n't seen one of the views from 
the windows yet. We are in the larger tower, 
you know. You can see Hinsdale village on 
this side, and there 's a fine view of the moun- 
tains over there. Oh yes, and from the other 
side there's your friend's house — Mr. Jack's. 
By the way, how is Mr. Jack these days?" 
Miss Holbrook stooped as she asked the ques- 
tion and picked up a bit of thread from the rug. 
David ran at once to the window that looked 
toward the House that Jack Built. From the 
tower the little house appeared to be smaller 
than ever. It was in the shadow, too, and 
looked strangely alone and forlorn. Uncon- 
sciously, as he gazed at it, David compared it 
with the magnificence he had just seen. His 
voice choked as he answered. 

"He is n't well. Lady of the Roses, and he's 
unhappy. He's awfully unhappy." 

Miss Holbrook's slender figure came up with 
a jerk. 

"What do you mean, boy? How do you 
know he's unhappy? Has he said so?" 
"No; but Mrs. Holly told me about him. 
i85 



JUST DAVID 

He's sick; and he'd just found his work to do 
out in the world when he had to stop and come 
home. But — oh, quick, there he is! See?" 

Instead of coming nearer Miss Holbrook fell 
back to the center of the room; but her eyes 
were still turned toward the little house. 

"Yes, 1 see," she murmured. The next in- 
stant she had snatched a handkerchief from 
David's outstretched hand. "No — no — I 
would n't wave," she remonstrated hurriedly. 
"Come — come downstairs with me." 

"But I thought — I was sure he was looking 
this way," asserted David, turning reluctantly 
from the window. "And if he had seen me wave 
to him, he'd have been so gbd; now, would n't 
he?" 

There was no answer. The Lady of the Roses 
did not apparently hear. She had gone on down 
the stairway. 



II! 



CHAFfER XV 

SECRETS 

David had so much to lei! Jack and Jill that 
he went to see them the vciy next day after 
his second visit to Sunnycrest. He carried his 
violin with him. He found, however, only Jill at 
home. She was sitting on the veranda steps. 

There was not so much embarrassment be- 
tween them this time, perhaps because they 
were in the freedom of the wide out-of-doors, 
and David felt more at ease. He was plainly 
disappointed, however, that Mr. Jack was not 
there. 

"But I wanted to see him! I wanted to see 
him 'specially," he lamented. 

"You'd better stay, then. He'll be home by 
and by," comforted Jill. "He's gone pot- 
boiling." 

"Pot-boiling! What's that?" 

Jill chuckled. 

"Well, you see, really it's this way: he sells 
something to boil in other people's pots so he 
187 



JUST DAVID 

can have something to boil in ours, he says. 
It's slufT from the garden, you know. Wc raise 
it to sell, I'oor Jack — and he docs hate it so!" 

David nodded sympalhctically. 

" I know — and it must be awful, just hoe- 
ing and weeding all the time." 

"Still, of course he knows he's got to do it, 
because it's out of doors, and he just has to be 
out of doors all he can," rejoined the girl. 
"He's sick, you know, and sometimes he's so 
unhappy 1 He doesn't say much. Jack never 
says much — only with his face. But I know, 
and it — it just makes me want to cry." 

At David's dismayed exclamation .'ill jum7>cd 
to her feet. It occurred to her suddenly 
that she was telling this unknown boy alto- 
gether too many of the family secrets. She 
proposed at once a race to the foot of the hill; 
and then, to drive David's mind still farther 
away from the subject under recent considera- 
tion, she deliberately lost, and proclaimed him 
the victor. 

Very soon, however, there arose new compli- 
cations in the shape of a Uttle gate that led to 
a path which, in its turn, led to a footbridge 
across the narrow span of the little stream. 
i88 



SECnRTS 

Above the trees on the other side peeped the 
top of SunnycreHt's hif;hciil tower. 

"To the Ijidy of the Hoses!" cried IJavid 
eoRcrly. "I know it «ocs there. Come, let's 
seel" 

The little girl shook her head. 

"I can't." 

"Why not?" 

"Jack won't let me." 

"But it goes to a beautiful plane; I was there 
yesterday," argued Uavid. "And I was up in 
the tower and almost waved to Mr. Jack on 
the piazza back there. I saw him. And maybe 
she'd let you and me go up there again to-day." 

"But I can't. I s,iy," rq eatcd Jill, a little 
impatiently. "Jack won't let me even start." 

"Why not? Maybe he doesn't know where 
it goes to." 

Jill hung her head. Then she raised it de- 
fiantly. 

"Oh, yes, he does, 'cause I told him. I used 
to go when I was littler and he was n't here. 
I went once, after he came, — halfway, — and 
he saw me and called to mc. I had got halfway 
across the bridge, but I had to come back. He 
was very angry, yet sort of — queer, too. I' , 



Ill 



Hi 



11 



JUST DAVID 

face was all stem and white, and his lips 
snapped tight shut after every word. He said 
never, never, never to let him find me the other 
side of that gate." 

David frowned as they turned to go up the 
hill. Unhesitatingly he determined to instruct 
Mr. Jack in this Uttle matter. He would tell 
him what a beautiful place Sunnycrest was, 
and he would try to convince him how very 
desirable it was that he and Jill, and even Mr. 
Jack himself, should go across the bridge at the 
very first opportunity that offered. 

Mr. Jack came home before long, but David 
quite forgot to speak of the footbridge just 
then, chiefly because Mr. Jack got out his 
violin and asked David to come in and play 
a duet with him. The duet, however, soon 
became a solo, for so great was Mr. Jack's 
delight in David's playing that he placed be- 
fore the boy one sheet of music after another, 
begging and still begging for more. 

David, nothing loath, played on and on. 
Most of the music he knew, having already 
learned it in his mountain home. Like old 
friends the melodies seemed, and so glad was 
David to see their notes again that he fmished 
190 



SECRETS 

each prdur-tion wit i! a Httle improvised cadenza 
of ecstaic welcome — to Mr. Jack's increasing 
surprise c .lu doilght. 

"Great Scott! you're a wonder, David," he 
exclaimed, at last. 

"Pooh! as if that was anything wonderful," 
laughed the boy. "Why, I knew those ages 
ago, Mr. Jack. It's only that I'm so glad to 
see them again — the notes, you know. You 
see, I have n't any music now. It was all in the 
bag (what we brought), and we left that on the 
way." 

"You left it!" 

"Yes, 'twas so heavy," murmured David 
abstractedly, his fingers busy with the pile of 
music before him. "Oh, and here's another 
one," he cried exultingly. "This is where the 
wind sighs 'oou — oou — oou' through the 
pines. Listen!" And he was away again on the 
wings of his violin. When he had returned Mr. 
Jack drew a long breath. 

"David, you are a wonder," he declared 
again. "And that violin of yours is a wonder, 
too, if I'm not mistaken, — though I don't 
know enough to tell whether it's really a rare 
one or not. Was it your father's?" 



JUST DAVID 



|- 



I 



"Oh, no. He had one, too, and they both 
are good ones. Father said so. Joe's got 
father's now." 

"Joe?" 

"Joe Glaspell." 

"You don't mean Widow Glaspell's Joe, the 
bUnd boy? I did n't know he could play." 

"He could n't till I showed him. But he 
likes to hear me play. And he understood — 
right away, I mean." 

"Understood!" 

"What I was playing, you know. And he 
was almost the first one that did — since father 
went away. An 1 now I play every time I go 
there. Joe says he never knew before how trees 
and grass and sunsets and sunrises and birds 
and little brooks did look, till I told him with 
my violin. Now he says he thinks he can see 
them better than I can, becavse as long as his 
outside eyes can't see anything, they can't see 
those uply things all around him, and so he 
can just make his insirfe eyes see only the beau- 
tiful things that he'd like to see. And that's 
the kind he does see when I play. That 's why 
I said he understood." 

For a moment there was silence. In Mr. 
192 



SECRETS 

Jack's eyes there was an odd look as they rested 
on David's face. Then, abruptly, he spoke. 

"David, I wish I had money. I'd put you 
then where you belonged," he sighed. 

"Do you mean — where I'd find my work 
to do?" asked the boy softly. 

"Well — yes; you might say it that way," 
smiled the man, after a moment's hesitation — 
not yet was Mr. Jack quite used to this boy 
who was at times so very un-boylike. 

"Father told me 'twas waiting for me — 
somewhere." 
Mr. Jack frowned thoughtfully. 
"And he was right, David. The only trouble 
is, w L ^ to pick it out for ourselves, pretty 
well, well, as we find out sometimes, 

when we're called off — for another job." 

" I know, Mr. Jack, I know," breathed David. 
And the man, looking into the glowing dark 
eyes, wondered at what he found there. It was 
almost as if the boy really understood about 
his own life's disappointment — and cared; 
though that, of course, could not be ! 

"And it's all the harder to keep ourselves in 
tune then, too, is n't it? " went on David, a little 
wistfully. 



i 



JUST DAVID 

"In tune?" 

"With the rest of the Orchestra.'' 

"Oh!" And Mr. Jack, who had already heard 
about the "Orchestra of Life," smiled a bit 
sadly. "That's just it, my boy. And if we're 
handed another instrument to play on than the 
one we want to play on, we're apt to — to let 
fly a discord. Anyhow, I am. But" — he went 
on more lightly — "now, in your case, David, 
little as I know about the violin, I know ;ncugh 
to understand that you ought to be where you 
can take up your study of it again; where you 
can hear good music, and where you can be 
among those who know enough to appreciate 
what you do." 

David's eyes sparkled. 

"And where there would n't be any pulling 
weeds or hoeing dirt?" 

"Well, I had n't thought of including either 
of those pastimes." 

"My, but I would like that, Mr. Jack! — but 
thai would n't be work, so that could n't be 
what father meant." David's face fell. 

"Hm-m; well, I would n't worry about the 
'work' part," laughed Mr. Jack, "particularly 
as you are n't going to do it just now. There's 
194 



SECRETS 

the money, you know, — and we have n't got 
that." 

"And it takes money?" 

"Well — yes. You can't get those things 
here in Hinsdale, you know: and it takes money 
to get away, and to live away after you get 
there." 

A sudden light transfigured David's face. 

"Mr. Jack, would gold do it?— lots of httle 
rounii gold-pieces?" 

"I think it would, David, if there were 
enough of them." 

"Many as a hundred?" 

" Sure — if they were big enough. Anyway, 
David, they'd start you, and I 'm thinking you 
wouldn't need but a start before you'd be 
coining gold-pieces of your own out of that 
violin of yours. But why? Anybody you know 
got as 'many as a hundred' gold-pieces he 
■^vants to get rid of?" 

For a moment David, his delighted thoughts 
flying to the gold-pieces in the chimney cup- 
board of his room, was tempted to tell his 
secret. Then he remembered the woman with 
the bread and the pail of milk, and decided not 
to. He would wait. When he knew Mr. Jack 
195 



'■1 



if 




JUST DAVID 

better — perhaps then he would tell; but not 
now. Now Mr. Jack might think he was a thief, 
and that he could not bear. So he took up his 
violin and began to play; and in the chann of 
the music Mr. Jack seemed to forget the gold- 
pieces — which was exactly what David had 
intended should happen. 

Not until David had said good-bye some 
time later, did he remember the purpose — the 
special purpose — for which he had come. He 
turned back with a radiant face. 

"Oh, and Mr. Jack, I 'most forgot," he cried. 
" I was going to tell you. I saw you yesterday 
— I did, and I almost waved to you." 

"Did you? Where were you?" 

"Over there in the window — the tower 
window," he crowed jubilantly. 

"Oh, you went again, then, I suppose, to see 
Miss Holbrook." 

The man's voice sounded so oddly cold and 
distant that David noticed it at once. He 
was reminded suddenly of the gate and the 
footbridge which Jill was forbidden to cross; 
but he dared not speak of it then — not 
when Mr. Jack looked like that. He did say, 
however: — 

»i»6 



SECRETS 
"Oh, but, Mr. Jack, it's such a beautiful 
place! You don't know what a beautiful place 
it is." 
"Is it? Then, you like it so much?" 
"Oh, so much! But — didn't vou ever — 
see it?" 

"Why, yes, I believe I did, David, long ago," 
munnured Mr. Jack with what seemed to 
David amazing indifference. 

"And did you see her — my Lady of the 
Roses?" 
"Why, y — yes — I believe so." 
"And is that all you remember about it?" re- 
sented David, highly offended. 

The man gave a laugh — a little short, hard 
laugh that David did not like. 

"But, let me see; you said you almost waved, 
did n't you? Why did n't you, quite?" asked 
the man. 

David drew himself suddenly erect. Instinct- 
ively he felt that his Lady of the Roses needed 
defense. 

" Because she did n't want me to ; so I did n't, 
of course," he rejoined with dignity. " She took 
away my handkerchief." 
"I'll warrant she did," muttered the man, 
187 



JUST DAVID 
behind his teeth. Aloud he only laughed again, 
as he turned away. 

Da\id went on down the steps, dissatisfied 
vaguely with himself, with Mr. Jack, and even 
with the Lady of the Roses. 



CHAPTER XVI 

David's castle in spain 

On his return from the House that Jack Built, 
David decided to count his gold-pieces. He got 
them out at once from behind the books, and 
stacked them up in little shining rows. As he 
had surmised, there were a hundred of them. 
There were, indeed, a hundred and six. He was 
pleased at that. One hundred and six were 
surely enough to give him a "start." 

A start! David closed his eyes and pictured 
it. To go on with his violin, to hear good music, 
to be with people who understood what he said 
when he played! That was what Mr. Jack had 
said a "start" was. And this gold — these 
round hining bits of gold — could bring him 
this! David swept the little piles into a jingling 
heap, and sprang to his feet with both fists full 
of his suddenly beloved wealth. With boyish 
glee he capered about the room, jingling the 
coins in his hands. Then, very soberly, he sat 
down again, and began to gather the gold to 
put away. 



i 



JUST DAVID 

He would be wise — he would be sensible. 
He would watch his chance, and when it came 
he would go away. First, however, he would 
tell Mr. Jack and Joe, and the Lady of the 
Roses; yes, and the HoUys, too. Just now there 
seemed to be work, real work that he could do 
to help Mr. Holly. But later, possibly when 
September came and school, — they had said 
he must go to school, — he would tell them 
then, and go away instead. He would see. By 
that time they would believe him, perhaps, 
wli •;. he showed the gold-pieces. They would 
noi Uiink he had — stolen them. It was August 
now; he would wait. But meanwhile he could 
think — he could always be thinking of the 
wonderful thing that this gold was one day to 
bring to him. 

Even work, to David, did not seem work 
now. In the morning he was to rake hay behind 
the men with the cart. Yesterday he had not 
liked it very well; but now — nothing mattered 
now. And with a satisfied sigh David put his 
precious gold away again behind the books in 
the cupboard. 

David found a new song in his violin the next 
morning. To be sure, he could not play it — 

200 



DAVID'S CASTLE IN SPAIN 
much of it — until four o'clo<;k in the afternoon 
came; for Mr. Holly did not like violins to be 
played in the morning, ev«n on days that were 
not especially the Lord's. There was too much 
work to do. So David could only snatch a 
strain or two very, very softly, while he was 
dressing; but that was enough to show him 
what a beautiful song it was going to be. He 
knew what it was, at once, too. It was the gold- 
pieces, and what they would bring. All through 
the day it tripped through his consciousness, 
and danced tantalizingly just out of reach. Yet 
he was wonderfully happy, and the day seemed 
short in spite of the heat and the weariness. 

At four o'clock he hurried home and put hi;, 
violin quickly in tune. It came then — that 
dancing sprite of tantalization — and joyously 
abandoned itself to the strings of the violin, so 
that David knew, of a surety, what a beautiful 
song it was. 

It was this song that sent him the next after- 
noon to see his Lady of the Roses. He found 
her this time out of doors in her garden. Un- 
ceremoniously, as usual, he rushed headlong 
into her presence. 
"Oh, Lady — Lady of the Rcies," he panted, 
aoi 



H 



JUST DAVID 

"I've found out, and I came quickly to tell 
you." 

"Why, David, what — what do yoi mean?" 
Miss Holbrook looked unmistakably startled. 

"About the hours, you know, — the un- 
clouded ones," explained David eagerly. "You 
know you said they were all cloudy to you." 

Miss Holbrook's face grew very white. 

"You mean — you've found out why my 
hours are — are all cloudy ones?" she stam- 
mered. 

"No, oh, no. I can't imagine why they are," 
returned David, with an emphatic shake of his 
head. " It's just that I 've found a way to make 
all my hours sunny ones, and you can do it, 
too. So I came to tell you. You know you said 
yours were all cloudy." 

"Oh," ejaculated Miss Holbrook, falling 
back into her old listless attitude. Then, with 
some asperity: "Dear me, David! Didn't I 
tell you not to be remembering that all the 
time?" 

"Yes, I know, but I've learned something," 
urged the boy; "something that you ought to 
know. You see, I did think, once, that because 
you had all these beautiful things around you. 



DAVIDS CASTLE IN SPAIN 
the hours ought to be all sunny ones. But now 
I know it is n't what *s around you; it's what 
is in you I" 

"Oh, David, David, you curious boy!" 

"No, but really! Let me tell you," pleaded 
David. "You know I have n't liked them, — 
all those hours till four o'clock came, — and I 
was so glad, after I saw the sundial, to find out 
that they did n't count, anyhow. But to-day 
they hai>e counted — they've all counted. Lady 
of the Roses; and it's just because there was 
something inside of me that shone and shone, 
and made them all sunny — those hours." 

"Dear me! And what was this wonderful 
thing?" 

David smiled, but he shook ins head. 

"I can't tell you that yet — in words; but 
I'll play it. You see, I can't always play them 
twice alike, — those little songs that I find, — 
but this one I can. It sang so long in my head, 
before my violin had a chance to tell me what 
it really was, that I sort of learned it. Now, 
listen!" And be began to play. 

It was, indeed, a beautiful song, and Miss 
Holbrook said so with promptness and enthu- 
siasm; yet still David frowned. 

303 



JUST DAVID 

"Yes, yes," he answered, "but don't you 
see? That was telling you about something 
inside of me that made all my hours sunshiny 
ones. Now, what you want is something inside 
of you to make yours sunshiny, too. Don't you 
see?" 

An odd look came into Miss Holbrook's eyes. 

"That's all very well for you to say, David, 
but you have n't told me yet, you know, just 
what it is that 's made all this brightness for 
you." 

The boy changed his position, and puckered 
his forehead into a deeper frown. 

"I don't seem to explain so you can under- 
stand," he sighed. "It isn't the special thing. 
It's only that it's something. And it's thinking 
about it that does it. Now, mine would n't 
make yours shine, but — still," — he broke off, 
a happy relief in his eyes, — "yours could be 
like mine, in one way. Mine is something that 
is going to happen to me — something just 
beautiful; and you could have that, you know, 
— something that was going to happen to you, 
to think about." 

Miss Holbrook smiled, but only with her lips. 
Her eyes had grown somber. 

304 



DAVID'S CASTLE IN SPAIN 

"But there isn't anything 'just beautiful* 
going to happen to me, David," she demurred. 

"There could, could n't there?'" 

Miss Holbrook bit her lip; then she gave an 
odd little laugh that seemed, in some way, to 
go with the swift red that had come to her 
cheeks. 

"I used to think there could — once," she 
admitted; "but I've given that up long ago. 
It — it did n't happen." 

"But could n't you just think it was going 
to?" persisted the boy. "You see I found out 
yesterday that it's the thinking that does it. 
All day long I was thinking — only thinking. 
I was n't doing it, at all. I was really raking 
behind the cart; but the hours all were 
sunny." 

Miss Holbrook laughed now outright. 

"What a persistent little mental-science 
preacher you are!" she exclaimed. "And 
there's truth — more truth than you know — 
in it all, too. But I can't do it, David, — not 
that — not that. 'T would take more than 
thinking — to bring that," she added, under her 
breath, as if to herself. 
"But thinking does bring things," main- 

305 



JUST DAVID 

tained David earnestly. "There's Joe — Joe 
Glaspell. His mother worke out all day; and 
he's blind." 

"Blind? Oh-h!" shuddered Miss Holbrook. 

"Yes; and he has to stay all alone, except for 
Betty, and she is n't there much. He thinks all 
his things. He has to. He can't see anything 
with his outside eyes. But he sees everything 
with his inside eyes — everything that I play. 
Why, Lady of the Roses, he's even seen this — 
all this here. I told him about it, you know, 
right away after I'd found you that first day: 
the big trees and the long shadows across the 
grass, and the roses, and the shining water, and 
the lovely marble people peeping through the 
green leaves; and the sundial, and you so beau- 
tiful sitting here in the middle of it all. Then 
I played it for hun; and he said he could see it 
all just as plain ! And that was with his inside 
eyes! And so, if Joe, shut up there in his dark 
little room, can make his think bring him all 
that, I should think that you, here in this beau- 
tiful, beautiful place, could make your think 
bring you anything you wanted it to." 

But Miss Holbrook sighed again and shook 
her head. 

ao6 



i i 



DAVID'S CASTLE IN SPAIN 
^ "Not that, David, not that," she murmured. 
"It would take more than thinking to bring — 
that." Then, with a quick change of manner, 
she cried: "Come, come, suppose we don't 
worry any more about my hours. Let's think 
of yours. Tell me, what have you been doing 
since I saw you last? Perhaps you have been 
again to — to see Mr. Jack, for instance." 

"I have; but I saw Jill mos*'y, till the last." 
David hesitated, then he blurted it out: "Lady 
of the Roses, do you know about the gate and 
the footbridge?" 
Miss Holbrook looked up quickly. 
"Know — what, David?" 
"Know about them — that they're there?" 
"Why — yes, of course; at least, I suppose 
you mean the footbridge that crosses the little 
stream at the foot of the hill over there." 

"That's the one." Again David hesitated, 
and again he blurted out the burden of his 
thoughts. "Lady of the Roses, did you ever — 
cross that bridge?" 
Miss Holbrook stirred uneasily. 
"Not — recently." 

"But you don't mind folks crossing it?" 
"Certainly not — if they wish to." 
ao7 



JUST DAVID 

"There! I knew 'twas n't your blame," 
triumphed David. 

"My blame 1" 

"Yes; that Mr. Jack would n't let Jill come 
across, you know. He called her back when 
she 'd got halfway over once." 

Miss Holbrook's face changed color. 

"But I do object," she cried sharply, "to 
their crossing it when they don't want to! 
Don't forget that, please." 

"But Jill did want to." 

"How about her brother — did he want her 
to?" 

"N — no." 

"Very well, then. I did n't, either." 

David frowned. Never had he seen his be- 
loved Lady of the Roses look like this before. 
He was reminded of what Jill had said about 
Jack: "His face was all stem and white, and his 
lips snapped tight shut after every word." So, 
too, looked Miss Holbrook's face; so, too, had 
her lips snapped tight shut after her last words. 
David could not understand it. He said noth- 
ing more, however; but, as was usually the case 
when he was perplexed, he picked up his violin 
and began to play. And as he played, there 
208 



DAVID'S CASTLE IN SPAIN 

gradually came to Miss Holbrook's eyes a softer 
light, and to her lips lines less tightly drawn. 
Neither the footbridge nor Mr. Jack, however, 
was mentioned again that afternoon. 



CHAPTER XVII 



THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER 

It was in the early twilight that Mr. Jack told 
the story. He, Jill, and David were on the 
veranda, as usual watching the towers of Sun- 
nycrest turn from gold to silver as the sun 
dropped behind the hills. It was Jill who had 
asked for the story. 

"About fairies and princesses, you know," 
she had ordered. 

"But how will David like that?" Mr. Jack 
had demurred. "Maybe he does n't care for 
fairies and princesses." 

" I read one once about a prince — 't was 
'The Prince and the Pauper,' and I liked that," 
averred David stoutly. 

Mr. Jack smiled; then his brows drew to- 
gether in a frown. His eyes were moodily fixed 
on the towers. 

"Hm-m; well," he said, "I might, I suppose, 
tell you a story about a Princess and — a Pau- 
per. I — know one well enough." 



"THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER" 

"Good!— then tell it," cried both Jill and 
David. And Mr. Jack began his story. 

"She was not always a Princess, and he was 
not always a Pauper, — and that's where the 
story came in, I suppose," sighed the man. 
"She was just a giri, once, and he was a boy; 
and they played together and — liked each 
other. He lived in a little house on a hill." 

"Like this?" demanded Jill. 

"Eh? Oh — er — yes, something like this," 
returned Mr. Jack, with an odd half-smile. 
"And she lived in another bit of a house in a 
town far away from the boy." 

"Then how could they play together?" 
questioned David. 

"They could n't, always. It was only sum- 
mers when she came to visit in the boy's town. 
She was very near him then, for the old aunt 
whom she visited lived in a big stone house 
with towers, on another hill, in plain sight from 
the boy's home." 

"Towers like those — where the Lady of the 
Roses lives?" asked David. 

"Eh? What? Oh — er— yes," murmured 
Mr. Jack. 'We '11 say the towers were some- 
thing like those over there." He paused, then 

311 



m 



JUST DAVID 

went on musingly: "The girl used to signal, 
sometimes, from one of the tower windows. One 
wave of the handkerchief meant, ' I 'm coming 
iver'; two waves, with a Uttie pause between, 
meant, 'You are to come over here.' So the 
boy used to wait always, after that first wave 
to see if another followed; so that he might 
know whether he were to be host or guest that 
day. The waves always came at eijht o'clock 
in the morning, and very eagerly the boy used 
to watch for them all through the summer 
when the girl was there." 

"Did they always come, every morning?" 
asked Jill. 

"No; sometimes the girl had other things to 
do. Her aunt would want her to go somewhere 
with her, or other cousins were expected whom 
the girl must entertain; and she knew the boy 
did not like other guests to be there when he 
was, so she never asked him to come over at 
such times. On such occasions she did some- 
times run up to the tower at eight o'clock and 
wave three times, and that meant, 'Dead Day.' 
So the boy, after all, never drew a real breath 
of relief until he made sure that no dreaded 
third wave was to follow the one or the two." 



"THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER" 

"Seems to me," observed David, "thai all 
this was sort of one-sided. Did n't the boy 
say anything?" 

"Oh, yes," smiled Mr. Jack. "But the boy 
did not have any tower to wave from, you must 
remember. He had only the little piazza on his 
tiny bit of a house. But he rigged up a pole, 
and he asked his mother to make him two little 
Hags, a red and a blue one. The red meant 
'All right ' ; and the blue meant ' Got to work ' ; 
and these he used to run up on his pole in an- 
swer to her waving ' I 'm coming over,' or 
*You are to come over here.' So, you see, oc- 
casionally it was the boy who had to bring the 
'Dead Day,' as there were times when he had 
to work. And, by the way, perhaps you would 
be interested to know that after a while he 
thought up a third flag to answer her three 
waves. He found an old black silk handker- 
chief of his father's, and he made that into a 
flag. He told the girl it meant ' I 'm heart- 
broken,' and he said it was a sign of the deepest 
mourning. The girl laughed and tipped her 
head saucily to one side, and said, 'Pooh! as 
if you really cared!' But the boy stoutly 
maintained his position, and it was that, 
ai3 



JUST DAVID 

perhaps, which made her play the little joke 
one day. 

"The boy was fourteen that summer, and 
the girl thirteen. Tiiey had begun their signals 
years before, but they had not had the black 
one so long. On this day that I tell you of, the 
girl waved three waves, which meant, 'Dead 
Day,' you remember, and watched until the 
boy had hoisted his black flag which said, ' I 'm 
heart-broken,' in response. Then, as fast as her 
mischievous little feet could carry her, she raced 
down one hill and across to the other. Very 
stealthily she advanced till she found the boy 
bent over a puzzle on the back stoop, and — 
and he was whistling merrily. 

"How she teased him then! I' iv she taunted 
him with 'Heart-broken, indc.d — and whis- 
tling like that!' In vain he blushed and stam- 
mered, and protested tliat his whistling was 
only to keep up his spirits. The girl only 
laughed ^nd tossed her yellow curls; then she 
hunted till she found some little jingling bells, 
nd these she tied to the black badge of mourn- 
ing and pulled it high up on the flagpole. The 
next instant she was off with a run and a skip, 
and a saucy wave of her hand; and the boy 
ai4 



"THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER" 

was lefl all alone with an hour's work ahead of 
him to untie the knots from his desecrated 
badge of mourning. 

"And yet they were wonderfully good friends 
— this boy and girl. From the very first, when 
they were seven and eight, they had said that 
they would marry each other when they grew 
up, and always they spoke of it as the expected 
thing, and laid many happy plans for the time 
when it should come. To be sure, as they grew 
older, it was not mentioned quite so often, per- 
haps; but the boy at least thought — if he 
thought of it all — that that was only because 
it was already so well understood." 

"What did the girl think?" It was Jill who 
asked the question. 

"Eh? The girl? Oh," answered Mr. Jack, 
a Uttle bitterly, ' I 'm afraid I don't know ex- 
actly what the girl did think, but — it was n't 
that, anyhow — that is, judging from what 
followed." 

"What did follow?" 

"Well, to begin with. 
The girl was sixteen then, 
that this happened, and the girl was far away 
at school. She came to the funeral, however, 

3l5 



the old aunt died. 
It was in the winter 



Mil 



JUST DAVID 

but the boy did not see her, save in the dis- 
tance; and then he hardly knew her, so strange 
did she look in her ' ack dress and hat. She 
was there only two days, and though he gazed 
wistfullj up at the gray tower, he knew well 
enough thai of course she could not wave to 
him at such a time as that. Yet he had hoped 
— almost believed that she would wave two 
waves that last day, and let him go over to 
see her. 

"But she did n't wave, and he did n't go 
over. She went away. And then the town 
learned a wonderful thing. The old lady, her 
aunt, who had been considered just fairly rich, 
turned out to be the possessor of almost fabu- 
lous wealth, owing to her great holdings of 
stock in a Western gold mine which had sud- 
denly struck it rich. And to the girl she willed 
it all. It was then, of course, that the girl be- 
came the Princess, but the boy did not realize 
that — just then. To him she was still 'the 
girl.' 

"For three years he did not see her. She was 

at school, or traveling abroad, he heard. He, 

too, had been away to school, and was, indeed, 

just ready to enter college. Then, that summer, 

ai6 



Iffil 



"THE PRINCESS AND THE PA'-^i^R" 

he heard that she was coming to the c.u iiome, 
and his heart sang within him. Remember, to 
him she was still the girl. He knew, of course, 
that she was not the little girl who had promised 
to marry him. But he was sure she was the 
merry comrade, the true-hearted young girl 
who used to smile frankly into his eyes, and 
whom he was now to win for his wife. You see 
he had forgotten — quite forgotten about the 
Princess and the money. Such a fooUsh, foolish 
boy as he was! 

"So he got out his flags gleefully, and one 
day, when his mother was n't in the kitchen, 
he ironed out the wrinkles and smoothed them 
all ready to be raised on the pole. He would be 
ready when the girl waved — for of course she 
would wave; he would show her that he had 
not forgotten. He could see just how the 
sparkle would come to her eyes, and just how 
the little fine lines of mischief would crinkle 
around her nose when she was ready to give 
that first wave. He could imagine that she 
would like to find him napping; that she would 
like to take him by surprise, and make him 
scurry around for his flags to answer her. 

"But he would show her! As if she, a girl, 
ai7 



JUST DAVID 

were to beat him at their old game! He won- 
dered which it would be: 'I'm coming over,' 
or, 'You are to come over here.' Whichever it 
was, he would answer, of course, with the red 
'AH right.' Still, it would be a joke to run up 
' the blue 'Got to work,' and then slip across to 
see her, just as she, so long ago, had played 
the joke on him! On the whole, however, he 
thought the red flag would be better. And it 
was that one which he laid uppermost ready to 
his hand, when he arranged them. 

"At last she came. He heard of it at once. 
It was already past four o'clock, but he could 
not forbear, even then, to look toward the 
tower. It would be like her, after all, to wave 
then, that very night, just so as to catch him 
napping, he thought. She did not wave, how- 
ever. The boy was sure of that, for he watched 
the tower till dark. 

"In the morning, long before eight o'clock, 
the boy was ready. He debated for some time 
whether to stand out of doors on the piazza, or 
to hide behind the screened window, where he 
could still watch the tower. He decided at last 
that it would be better not to let her see him 
when she looked toward the house; then his 

3l8 



"THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER" 
triumph would be all the more complete when 
he dashed out to run up his answer. 

"Eight o'clock came and passed. The boy 
waited until nine, but there was no sign of life 
from the tower. The boy was angry then, at 
himself. He called himself, indeed, a fool, to 
hide as he did. Of course she would n't wave 
when he was nowhere in sight — when he had 
apparently forgotten! And here was a whole 
PiCcious day wasted! 

"The nex' morning, long before eight, the 
boy stood in plain sight on the piazza. As be- 
fore he waited until nine; and as before there 
was no sign of life at the tower window. The 
next morning he was there again, and the next, 
and the next. It took just five days, indeed, to 
convince the boy — as he was convinced' at 
last — that the girl did not intend to wave 
at all." 

"But how unkind of her!" exclaimed David. 
"She could n't have been nice one bit!" de- 
cided Jill. 

"You forget," said Mr. Jack. "She was the 
Princess." 
"Huh!" grunted Jill and David in unison. 
"The boy remembered it then," went on 
219 



JUST DAVID 

Mr. Jack, after a pause, — "about the money, 
and that she was a Princess. And of course he 
knew — when he thought of it — that he could 
not expect that a Princess would wave like a girl 
— just a girl. Besides, very Ukely she did not 
care particularly about seeing him. Princesses 
did forget, he fancied, — they had so much, so 
very much to fill their lives. It was this thought 
that kept him from going to see her — this, 
and the recollection that, after all, if she really 
had wanted to see hun, she could have waved. 
"There came a day, however, when another 
youth, who did not dare to go alone, persuaded 
him, and together they paid her a call. The 
boy understood, then, many things. He found 
the Princess; there was no sign of the girl. The 
Princess was tall and dignified, with a cold little 
hand and a smooth, sweet voice. There was no 
frank smile in her eyes, neither were there any 
mischievous crinkles about her nose and lips. 
There was no mention of towers or flags; no 
reference to wavings or to childhood's days. 
There was only a stiffly polite little conversa- 
tion about colleges and travels, with a word or 
two about books and plays. Then the caUers 
went home. On the way the boy smiled scom- 



im^ 



"THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER" 
fully to himself. He was trying to picture the 
beauteous vision he had seen, this unapproach- 
able Princess in her fihny lace gown, —standing 
in the tower window and waving — waving to 
a bit of a house on the opposite hill. As if that 
could happen ! 

"The boy, during those last three years, had 
known only books. He knew little of girls— 
only one girl— and he knew still less of Prin- 
cesses. So when, three days after the call, there 
came a chance to join a summer camp with a 
man who loved books even better than did the 
boy himself, he went gladly. Once he had re- 
fused to go on this very trip; but then there 
had been the girl. Now there was only the 
Princess— and the Princess did n't count." 

"Like the hours that aren't sunshiny," in- 
terpreted • avid. 

"Yes," corroborated Mr. Jack. "Like the 
hours when the sun does n't shine." 
"And then?" promoted Jill. 
"Well, then, — there was n't much worth 
telling," rejoined Mr. Jack gloomily. "Two 
more years passed, and the Princess grew to be 
twenty-one. She came into full control of her 
property then, and after a while she came back 



JUST DAVID 

to the old stone house with the towers and 
turned it into a fairyland of beauty. She spent 
money like water. All manner of artists, from 
the man who painted her ceilings to the man 
who planted her seeds, came and bowed to her 
will. From the four comers of the earth she 
brought her treasures and lavished them 
thro\;gh the house and grounds. Then, every 
summer, she came herself, and lived among 
them, a very Princess indeed." 

"And the boy? — what became of the boy?" 
demanded David. "Didn't he see her — 
ever?" 

Mr. Jack shook his head. 

"Not often, David; and when he did, it did 
not make him any — happier. You see, the 
boy had become the Pauper; you must n't for- 
get that." 

"But he was n't a Pauper when you left him 
last." 

"Was n't he? Well, then, I'll tell you about 
that. You see, the boy, even though he did go 
away, soon found out that in his heart the 
Princess was still the girl, just the same. He 
loved her, and he wanted her to be his wife; so 
for a little — for a very little — he was wild 



"THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER" 

enough to think that he might work and study 
and do great things in the world until he was 
even a Prince himself, and then he could marry 
the Princess." 

"Well, could n't he?" 

"No. To begin with, he lost his health. 
Then, away back in the little house on the hill 
something happened — a something that left a 
very precious charge for him to keep; and he 
had to go back and keep it, and to try to see 
if he could n't find that lost health, as well. 
And that is all." 

"All! You don't mean that that is the end!" 
exclaimed Jill. 

"That's the end." 

"But that is n't a mite of a nice end," com- 
plained David. "They always get married and 
live happy ever after — in stories." 

"Do they?" Mr. Jack smiled a httle sadl: 
"Perhaps they do, David, — in stories." 

"Well, can't they in this one?" 

" I don't see how." 

"Why can't he go to her and ask her to 
marry him?" 

Mr. Jack drew himself up proudly. 

"The Pauper and the Princess? Never! 
3a3 



JUST DAVID 
Paupers don't go to Princesses, David, and say, 
•I love you.*" 

David frowned. 

"Why not? I don't see why — if they want 
to do it. Seems as if somehow it might be 
fixed." 

"It can't be," returned Mr. Jack, his gaze 
on the towers that crowned the opposite hill; 
"not so long as always before the Pauper's 
eyes there are those gray walls behind which 
he pictures the Princess in the midst of her 
golden luxury." 

To neither David nor Jill did the change to 
the present tense seem strange. The story was 
much too real to them for that. 

"Well, anyhow, I think it ought to be fixed," 
declared David, as he rose to his feet. 

" So do I — but we can't fix it," laughed Jill. 
"And I'm hungry. Let 's see what there is to 
eat!" 



CHAPTER XVIII 

DAVID TO THE RESCUE 

It was a beautiful moonlight night, but for 
once David was not thinking of the moon. All 
the way to the Holly farmhouse he was think- 
ing of Mr. Jack's story, "The Princess and the 
Pauper." It held him strangely. He felt that 
he never could forget it. For some reason that 
he could not have explained, it made him sad, 
too, and his step was very quiet as he went up 
the walk toward the kitchen door. 

It was after eight o'clock. David had taken 
supper with Mr. Jack and Jill, and not for some 
hours had he been at the farmhouse. In the 
doorway now he stopped short; then instinc- 
tively he stepped back into the shadow. In the 
kitchen a kerosene light was burning. It showed 
Mrs. Holly crying at the table, and Mr. Holly, 
white-faced and stem-lipped, staring at noth- 
ing. Then Mrs. Holly raised her face, drawn and 
tear-stained, and asked a trembling question. 

"Simeon, have you thought? We might go 
— to John — for — help." 

335 



11^ 



JUST DAVID 

David was frightened then, so angry was the 
look that came into Simeon Holly's face. 

"Ellen, we'll have no more of this," said the 
man harshly. " Understand, I 'd rather lose the 
whole thing and — and starve, than go to — 
John." 

David fled then. Up the back stairs he crept 
to his room and left his violin. A moment later 
he stole down again and sought Perry Larson 
whom he had seen smoking in the bam doorway. 

"Perry, what is it?" he asked in a trembling 
voice. "What has happened — in there?" He 
pointed toward the house. 

The man puffed for a moment in silence be- 
fore he took his pipe from his mouth. 

"Well, sonny, I s'pose I may as well tell ye. 
You'll have ter know it sometime, seein' as 
't won't be no secret long. They've had a 
stroke o' bad luck — Mr. an' Mis' Holly has." 

"What is it?" 

The man hitched in his seat. 

"By sugar, boy, I s'pose if I tell ye, there 
ain't no sartinty that you'll sense ■ tall. \ 
reckon it ain't in your class." 

"But what is it?" 

"Well, it's money — and one might as well 
336 



DAVID TO THE RESCUE 
talk moonshine to you as money, I s'pose; but 
here goes it. It's a thousand dollars, boy, that 
they owed. Here, like this," he explained, rum- 
maging his pockets until he had found a silver 
dollar to lay on his open palm. "Now, jest 
imagine a thousand of them; that's heaps an' 
heaps — more'n I ever see in my life." 

"Like the stars?" guessed David. 

The man nodded. 

"Ex-acflyl Well, they owed this — Mr. an* 
Mis' Holly did — and they had agreed ter pay 
it next Sat'day. And they was all right, too. 
They had it plum saved in the bank, an' was 
goin' ter draw it Thursday, ter make sure. An' 
they was feelin' mighty pert over it, too, when 
ter-day along comes the news that somethin's 
broke kersmash in that bank, an' they've shet 
it up. An' nary a cent can the HoUys git now — 
an' maybe never. Anyhow, not 'fore it 's too 
late for this job." 

"But won't he wait?— that man they owe 
it to? I should think he'd have to, if they 
did n'l have it to pay." 

"Not much he will, when it's old Streeter 
that 's got the u\oi t«ttge on a good fat farm 
like this!" 

337 



f\l],i 



JUST DAVID 

David drew his brows together perplexedly. 

"What is a— a mortgage?" he asked. "Is it 
anything like a porte-cochire? I know what that 
is, 'cause my Lady of the Roses has one; but 
we have n't got that — down here." 

Perry Larson sighed in exasperation. 

"Gosh, if that ain't 'bout what I expected of 
ye! No, it ain't even second cousin to a — a — 
that thing you're a-talkin' of. In plain wordin', 
it's jest this: Mr. Holly, he says ter Streeter: 
'You give me a thousand dollars and I '11 pay 
ye back on a sartin day; if I don't pay, you can 
sell my farm fur what it'll bring, an' take yer 
pay. Well, now here 't is. Mr. Holly can't pay, 
an* so Streeter will put up the farm fur sale." 

"What, with Mr. and Mrs. Holly living 
here?" 

"Sure! Only they'll have ter git out, ye 
know." 

"Where '11 they go?" 

"The Lord knows; I don't." 

"And is that what they're crying for — in 
there? — because they've got to go?" 

"Sure!" 

"But is n't there anything, anywhere, that 
can be done to — stop it?" 
aaS 



DAVID TO THE RESCUE 
" I don't see how, kid, — not unless some one 
ponies up with the money 'fore next Sat'day, — 
an' a thousand o' them things don't grow' on 
ev'ry bush," he fmished. gently patting the 
coin in his hand. 

At the words a swift change came to David's 
face. His cheeks paled and his eyes dilated in 
terror. It was as if ahead of him he saw a yawn- 
ing abyss, eager to engulf him. 

"And you say — money would — fix it?" he 
asked thickly. 

"Ex-acMyl— a thousand o' them, though, 
'twould take." 

A dawning relief came into David's eyes — 
it was as if he saw a bridge across the abyss. 

"You mean — that there would n't anything 
do, only silver pieces — like those?" he ques- 
tioned hopefully. 

"Sugar, kid, 'course there would! Gosh, but 
you be a checkerboard o' sense an* nonsense, an' 
no mistake ! Any money would do the job— any 
money ! Don't ye see? Anything that's money " 

"Would g-gold do it?" David's v-ice was 
very faint now. 

" Sure ! — gold, or silver, or greenbacks, or — 
or a check, if it had the dough behind it." 



n 



1 



JUST DAVID 

David did not appear to hear the last. With 
an oddly strained look he had hung upon the 
man's first words; but at the end of the sentence 
he only murmured, "Oh, thank you," and 
turned away. He was walking slowly now 
toward the house. His head was bowed. His 
step lagged. 

"Now, ain't that jest like that chap," mut- 
tered the man, "ter slink off like that as if he 
was a whipped cur. I'll bet two cents an' a 
doughnut, too, that in five minutes he'll be 
what he calls 'play in' it' on that 'ere fiddle o* 
his. An' I '11 be demed, too, if I ain't curious ter 
see what he will make of it. It strikes me this 
ought ter fetch somethin' first cousin to a dirge 1" 
On the porch steps David paused a breath- 
less instant. From the kitchen came the sound 
of Mrs. Holly's sobs and of a stem voice pray- 
ing. With a shudder and a little choking cry 
the boy turned then and crept softly upstairs 
to his room. 

He played, too, as Perry Larson had wagered. 
But it was not the tragedy of the closed bank, 
nor the horror of the threatened farm-selling 
that fell from his violin. It was, instead, the 
swan song of a little pile of gold — gold which 
a3o 



DAVID TO THE RESCUE 

lay now in a chimney cu; iL. rd. but which was 
soon to be placed at the U, . of the mourning 
man and woman downstairs. And in the song 
was the sob of a hoy who sees his house of 
dreams bum to ashes; who sees his wonderful 
life and work out in the wide world turn to 
endless days nf weed-pulling and dirl-digging 
in a narrow miW'x. There wns in ihe song, too, 
something (,) ihe s!/ufp!.. il,e licrce yea and 
nay of the conliin. 1<„1, nl Ihe end, there was 
the wild burst o) exi.i.i,tioi) of renunciation, so 
that the man in the barn dm.r below fairly 
sprang to his feet with an angr, : — 

"Gosh! if he hain't turned the thing into n 
jig — dum him! Don't he know tnore'n th. i 
at such a time as this?" 

Later, a very little later, the siiadowy figuiv 
of the boy stood before him. 

"I've been thinking," stammered David, 
"that maybe I — could help, about that money, 
you know." 

"Now, look a-here, boy," exploded Perry, in 
open exasperation, "as I said in the first place, 
this ain't in your class. 'T ain't no pink cloud 
sailin* in the sky, nor a bluebird singin' in a 
hlackb'rry bush. An' you might 'play if — as 
a3i 



m 



JUST DAVID 

you call it — till doomsday, an' 't would n't do 
no good — though I'm free ter confess that 
your playin' of them 'ere other things sounds 
real pert an' chirky at times; but *t won't do 
no good here." 

David stepped forward, bringing his small, 
anxious face full into the moonlight. 

" But 't was the money, Perry, I meant about 
the money," he explained. "They were good 
to me and wanted me when there was n't any 
one else that did; and now I'd like to do some- 
thing for them. There are n't so many pieces, 
and they are n't silver. There's only one hun- 
dred and six of them; I counted. But maybe 
they 'd help some, i i — it would be a — start." 
His voice broke over the once beloved word, 
then went on with renewed strength. "There, 
see! Would these do?" And with both hands 
he held up to view his cap sagging under its 
weight of gold. 

Perry Larson's jaw fell open. His eyes 
bulged. Dazedly he reached out and touched 
with trembling fingers the heap of shining 
disks that seemed in the mellow light like Uttle 
earth-bom children of the moon itself. The 
next instant he recoiled sharply. 
93a 



DAVID TO THE RESCUE 

"Great snakes, boy, where 'd you git that 
money?" he demanded. 

"Of father. He went to the far country, you 
know." 

Perry Larson snorted angrily. 

"See here, boy, for once, if ye can, taJk 
horse-sense! Surely, even you don't expect me 
ter beUeve that he's sent you that money from 
— from where he's gone to!" 

"Oh, no. He left it." 

"Left it! Why, boy, you know better! There 
wa'n't a cent — hardly — found on him," 

"He gave it to me before— by the road- 
side." 

"Gave it to you! Where in the name of 
goodness has it been since?" 

"In the little cupboard in my room, behind 
the books." 

"Great snakes!" muttered Perry Larson, 
reaching out his hand and gingerly picking up 
one of the gold-pieces. 

David eyed him anxiously. 

"Won't they — do?" he faltered. "There 
are n't a thousand; there's only a hundred and 
six; but — " 

"Do!" cut in the man, excitedly. He had 
233 



JUST DAVID 

been examining the gold-piece at close range. 
"Do! Well, I reckon they'll do. ByJiminyl — 
and ter think you've had this up yer sleeve all 
this time! Well, I'll believe any thin' of yer 
now — anythin'! You can't stump me with 
nuthin' ! Come on." And he hurriedly led the 
way toward the house. 

"But they were n't up my sleeve," corrected 
David, as he tried to keep up with the long 
strides of the man. "I said they were in the 
cupboard in my room." 

There was no answer. Larson had reached 
the porch steps, and had paused there hesitat- 
ingly. From the kitchen still came the sound 
of sobs. Aside from that there was silence. 
The boy, however, did not hesitate. He went 
straight up the steps and through the open 
kitchen door. At the table sat the man and the 
woman, their eyes covered with their hands. 

With a swift overturning of his cap, David 
dumped his burden onto the table, and stepped 
back respectfully. 

" If you please, sir, would this — help any?" 
he asked. 

At the jingle of the coins Simeon Holly and 
his wife lifted their heads abruptly. A half- 

234 



DAVID TO THE RESCUE 
uttered sob died on the woman's lips. A quick 
cry came from the man's. He reached forth an 
eager hand and had almost clutched the gold 
when a sudden change came to his face. With 
a stern ejaculation he drew back. 

"Boy, where did that money come from?" 
he challenged. 

David sighed in a discouraged way. It 
seemed that, always, the showing of this gold 
meant questioning — eternal questioning. 

"Surely," continued Simeon Holly, "you did 
not—" With the boy's frank gaze upturned to 
his, the man could not finish his sentence. 

Before David could answer came the voice 
of Perry Larson from the kitchen doorway. 

"No, sir, he did n't, Mr. Holly; an' it's all 
straight, I'm thinkin' — though I'm free ter 
confess it does sound nutty. His dad give it to 
him." 

"His —father! But where- where has it 
been ever since?" 

"In the chimney cupboard in his room, he 
says, sir." 

Simeon Holly turned in frowning amazement. 

"David, what does this mean? Why have 
you kept this gold in a place like that?" 
235 



JUST DAVID 

"Why, there was n't anything else to do with 
it," answered the boy perplexedly. "I had n't 
any use for it, you know, and father said to 
keep it till I needed it." 

'"Had n't any use for it'!" blustered Larson 
from the doorway. "Jiminy! Now, ain't that 
jest like that boy?" 

But David hurried on with his explanation. 

"We never used to use them — father and 
I — except to buy things to eat and wear; and 
down here you give me those, you know." 

"Gorry!" interjected Perry Larson. "Doyou 
reckon, boy, that Mr. Holly himself was give 
them things he gives ter you?" 

The boy turned sharply, a startled question 
in his eyes. 

"What do you mean? Do you mean that — " 
His face changed suddenly. His cheeks turned 
a shamed red. "Why, he did — he did have 
to buy them, of course, just as father did. And 
I never even thought of it before! Then, it's 
yours, anyway — it belongs to you," he argued, 
turning to Farmer Holly, and shoving the gold 
nearer to his hands. "There isn't enough, 
maybe — but 't will help!" 
"They're ten-dollar gold pieces, sir," spoke 
a36 



'i.:saE:s^Sz 



DAVID TO THE RESCUE 
up Larson importanlly; "an" there's a hundred 
an' six of them. That's jest one thousand an' 
sixty dollars, as I make it." 

Simeon Holly, self-controlled man that he 
was, abnost leaped from his chair. 

"One thousand and sixty dollars!" he gasped. 
Then, to David: "Boy, in Heaven's name, who 
are you?" 

"I don't know — only David." The boy 
spoke wearily, with a grieved sob in his voice. 
He was very tired, a good deal perplexed, and 
a little angry. He wished, if no one wanted this 
gold, that he could take it upstairs again to the 
chimney cupbord; or, if they objected to that, 
that they would at least give it to him, and 
let him go away now to that beautiful music he 
was to hear, and to those kind people who were 
always to understand what he said when he 
played. 

"Of course," ventured Perry Larson diffi- 
dently, "I ain't professin' ter know any great 
shakes about the hand of the Lord, Mr. Holly, 
but it do strike me that this 'ere gold comes 
mighty near bein' proverdential — fur you." 

Simeon Holly fell back in his seat. His eyes 
clung to the gold, but his lips set into rigid lim s. 
287 



:ii 



JUST DAVID 

"That money is the boy's, Larson. It is n't 
mine," he said. 

"He's give it to ye." 

Simeon Holly shook his head. 

"David is nothing but a child, Perry. He 
does n't realize at all what he is doing, nor how 
valuable his gift is." 

" I know, sir, but you did take him in, when 
there would n't nobody else do it," argued 
Larson. "An', anyhow, could n't you make a 
kind of an I O U of it, even if he is a kid? Then, 
some day you could pay him back. Meanwhile 
you'd be a-keepin' him, an' a-schoohn' him; an' 
that's somethin'." 

" I know, I know," nodded Simeon Holly 
thoughtfully, his eyes going from the gold to 
David's face. Then, aloud, yet as if to himself, 
he breathed: "Boy, boy, who was your father? 
How came he by all that gold — and he — a 
tramp!" 

David drew himself suddenly erect. His eyes 
flashed. 

"I don't know, sir. But I do know this: he 
did n't steal it!" 

Across the table Mrs. Holly drew a quick 
breath, but she did not speak — save with her 
338 




! 



■YDC KK MV HOV. llAVIll, -MV HOY!" 



DAVID TO THE RESCUE 
pleading eyes. Mrs. Holly seldom spoke — 
save with her eyes — when her husband was 
solving a knotty problem. She was dumfounded 
now that he should listen so patiently to the 
man, Larson, — lhouf<h she was not more sur- 
prised than was Larson himself. For both of 
thDm, however, there came at this moment a 
still greater surprise. Simeon I lolly leaned for- 
ward suddenly, the stern lines quite gone from 
his lips, and his face working with emotion as 
he drew David toward him. 

"You're a good son, boy, — a good loyal 
son; and— and 1 wish you were mine! I be- 
lieve you. He did n't steal it, and I won't steal 
it, either. But I will use it, since you arc so 
good as to offer it. But it shall be a loan, David, 
and some day, God helping me, you shall have 
it back. Meanwhile, you're my boy, David, — 
my boy!" 

"Oh, thank you, sir," rejoiced David. "And, 
really, you know, being wanted like that is 
better than the start would be, is n't it?" 
"Better than — what?" 
David shifted his position. He had not meant 
to say just that. 
"N— nothing," he stammered, looking about 






JUST DAVID 

for a means of quick escape. "I — I was just 
talking," he finished. And he was immeasur- 
ably relieved to find that Mr. Holly did not 
press the matter further. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE UNBEAUTIFLL WORLD 

In spite of thr exaltation of renunciation, and 

•"wTn 1? . 1^°^ °^ ''*'"« ""^'y "'"^ ''specially 
wanted." those early September days werr 
sometimes hard for David. Not until he had 
relinquished all hope of his "slarf -lid he fuUv 
realize what that hope had meant to him 

There wer. limes, to be sure, when there was 
nothing but rejou ing within him that he was 
able thus to aid the Hollys. There were other 
times when tiiere was notlung but the sore 
heartache because of the great w<,rk out in the 
beautiful world that could now never be done- 
and because of the unlovely work at hand that 
must be done. To tell the truth, indeed. David's 
entu-e conception of life had become suddenly 
a chaos of puzzling contradictions. 

To Mr. Jack, one day, David went with his 
perplexities. Not that he told him of the gold- 
pieces and of the unexpected use to which they 
had been put-indeed, no. David had made 
up his nund never, if he could help himself, to 

34l 



MICROCOPY RESOLUTION TEST CHART 

(ANSI and ISO TEST CHART No. 2) 




13.2 



m 
m 



m m m 



^ APPLIED IM/IGE Ini: 

^F. 1653 East Mqir Street 

r^ Rochester Neo York 14609 USA 

S (716) *82 - 0300 - Ptone 

= (716) 288-5989 - Fo« 



JUST DAVID 

mention those gold-pieces to any one who did 
not already know of them. They meant ques- 
tions, and the questions, explanations. And he 
had had enough of both on that particular sub- 
ject. But to Mr. Jack he said one day, when 
they were alone together: — 

"Mr. Jack, how many folks have you got 
inside of your head ?" 

"Eh — what, David?" 

David repeated his question and attached an 
explanation. 

" I mean, the folks that — that make you do 
things." 

Mr. Jack laughed. 

"Well," he said, " I believe some people make 
claims to quite a number, and perhaps almost 
every one owns to a Dr. Jekyll and a Mr. Hyde." 

"Who are they?" 

"Never mind, David. I don't think you 
know the gentlemen, anyhow. The>'re only 
something like the little girl with a curl. One 
is very, very good, indeed, and the other is 
horrid." 

"Oh, yes, I know them; they're the ones 
that come to me," returned David, with a sigh. 
"I've had them a lot, lately." 
a4a 



THE UNBEAUTIFUL WORLD 

Mr. Jack stared. 

"Oh, have you?" 

"Yes; and that's what's the trouble. How 
can you drive them off - the one that is bad 
I mean? ' 

"Well, really," confessed Mr. Jack, " I 'm not 
sure I can tell. You see - the gentlemen visit 
me sometimes." 
"Oh, do they?" 
"Yes." 

"I'm so glad -that is, I mean." amended 
iJavid, m answer to Mr. Jack's uplifted eye- 
brows, "I'm glad that you understand what 
I m talkmg about. You see. I tried Perry Lar- 
son last night on it, to get him to tell me what 
to do. But he only stared and laughed. He 
did n t know the names of 'em, anyhow, as you 
do and at last he got really almost angry and 
said I made him feel so 'buggy' and 'creepy' 
that he would n't dare look at himself in the 
glass If I kept on, for fear some one he'd never 
known was there should jump out at him " 
Mr. Jack chuckled. 

"Well, I suspect, David, that Perry knew 
one of your gentlemen by the name of 'con- 
science,' perhaps; and I also suspect that maybe 
243 



ri til 



JUST DAVID 

conscience does pretty nearly fill the bill, and 
that you've been having a bout with that. 
Eh? Now, what is the trouble? Tell me about 
it." 

David stirred uneasily. Instead of answer- 
ing, he asked another question. 

"Mr. Jack, it is a beautiful world, is n't it?" 

For a moment there was no answer; then a 
low voice replied : — 

"Your father said it was, David." 

Again David moved restlessly. 

"Yes; but father was on the mountain. And 
down here — well, down here there are lots of 
things that I don't believe he knew about." 

"What, for instance?" 

"Why, lots of things — too many to tell. 
Of course there are things like catching fish, 
and killing birds and squirrels and other things 
to eat, and plaguing cats and dogs. Father 
never would have called those beautiful. Then 
there are others like little Jimmy Clark who 
can't walk, and the man at the Marstons' who's 
sick, and Joe Glaspell who is blind. Then 
there are still different ones like Mr. Holly's 
little boy. Perry says he ran away years and 
years ago, and made his people very unhappy. 
344 



THE UNBEAUTIFUL WORLD 

would he? And how can people like that always 
play in tune? And there are the Princes and 
the Pauper that you told about." 
Oh, the story?" 
"Yes; and people like them can't be hannv 

'"•Why'noS'^"''"'^^""^"'-^-^^^^^^^^ 
"Because they didn't end right. Thev 
youkLt"™'^^^^^"^"-''^PP--ra^5 

Da™' 'Jf\'^'^^ I'd wony about that. 
Uavid -at least, not about the Princess I 

fmjcy the world was very beautiful to retal 
nght The Pauper— .veil, perhaps he wasn't 
veo^ happy. But. after all. David, you kn^w 
happiness is something inside of yoiilf Per 
haps half of these people are hipy^t-tSj 

Uav d. You see. I found that out- that it 

nXfT°^'°"T''--''"'^«''-hileagland 
I told the Lady of the Roses. But now I- I 
can t make it work myself." 

"What's the matter?" 

"WeU. you see Ihen something was going to 
345 



81 



m 



JUST DAVID 

happen — something that I liked; and I found 
that just thinking of it made it so that I did n't 
mind raking or hoeing, or anything Uke that; 
and I told the Lady of the Roses. And I told 
her that even if it was n't going ,.>. appen she 
could think it was going to, and that that would 
be just the same, because 't was the thinking 
that made my hours sunny ones. It was n't 
the doing at all. I said I knew because I 
had n't done it yet. See?" 
"I — think so, David." 
"Well, I've found out that it is n't the same 
at all; for now that I know that this beautiful 
thing is n't ever going to happen to me, I can 
think and think all day, and it does n't do a 
mite of good. The sun is just as hot, and my 
back aches just as hard, and the field is just as 
big and endless as it used to be when I had to 
call it that those hours did n't count. Now, 
what is the matter?" 

Mr. Jack laughed, but he shook his head a 
little sadly. 

"You're getting into too deep waters for me, 
David. I suspect you're floundering in a sea 
that has upset the boats of sages since the world 
began. But what is it that was so nice, and that 

246 



THE UNBEAUTIFUL WORLD 

isn't going to happen? Perhaps I might he.p 
on that." 

"No, you could n't," frowned David; "and 
there could n't anybody, cither, you see. be- 
cause I would n't go bacli now and let it happen 
anyhow, as long as I know what I do. Why, if 
I did, there would n't be any hours that were 
sunny then — not even the ones after four 
o'clock; I — I'd feel so mean ! But what I don't 
see IS just how I can fix it up with the Lady of 
the Roses." 
"What has she to do with it?" 
"Why, at the very first, when she said she 
did n't have any sunshiny hours, I told her — " 
"When she said what?" interposed Mr. Jack 
coming suddenly erect in his chair. 

"That she did n't have any hours to count, 
you know." 
"To — count?" 

"Yes; it was the sundial. Did n't I tell you? 
Yes, I know I did — about the words on it — 
not counting any hours that were n't sunny 
you know. And she said she would n't have 
any hours to count; that the sun never shone 
for her." 

"Why, David," demurred Mr. Jack in a 

2^7 



^-11 



^^■« 



JUST DAVID 

voice that shook a little, "are you sure? Did 
she say just that? You — you must be mis- 
taken — when she has — has everything to 
make her happy." 

" I was n't, because I said that same thing to 
her myself — afterwards. And then I told her 
— when I found out myself, you know — about 
its being what was inside of you, after all, that 
counted; and then is when I asked her if she 
could n't think of something nice that was going 
to happen to her sometime." 

"Well, what did she say?" 

"She shook her head, and said 'No.' Then 
she looked away, and her eyes got soft and dark 
like little pools in the brooks where the water 
stops to rest. And she said she had hoped once 
that this something would happen; but that it 
hadn't, and that it would take something 
more than thinking to bring it. And I know 
now what she meant, because thinking is n't all 
that counts, is it?" 

Mr. Jack did not answer. He had risen to 
his feet, and was pacing restlessly up and down 
the veranda. Once or twice he turned his eyes 
toward the towers of Sunnycrest, and David 
noticed that there was a new look on his face. 
348 



THE UNBEAUTIFUL WORLD 
Very soon, however, the old tiredness came 
back to his eyes, and he dropped into his seat 
again, muttering "Fool! of course it could n't 
be — that!" 

"Be what?" asked David. 

Mr. Jack started. 

"Er— nothing; nothing that you would 
understand, David. Go on — with what you 
were saying." 

"There is n't any more. It's all done. It's 
only that I'm wondering how I'm going to 
learn here that it's a beautiful world, so that I 
can — tell father." 

Mr. Jack rou.sed himself. He had the air of 
a man who determinedly throws to one side a 
heavy burden. 

"Well, David," he smiled, "as I said before, 
you are still out on that sea where there are so 
many little upturned boats. There might be a 
good many ways of answering that question." 
"Mr. Holly says," mused the boy, aloud, a 
httle gloomily, "that it does n't make any dif- 
fereice whether we Hnd things beautiful or not; 
that we 're here to do something serious in the' 
world." 

"That is about what I should have expected 
a4o 



ill 



lUST DAVID 

of Mr. Holly," retorted Mr. Jack grimly. "lie 
acts it — and looks it. But — I don't believs 
you are going to tell your father just that." 

"No, sir, I don't believe I am," aocorded 
David soberly. 

"I have an idea that you're going to find 
that answer just where your fat»ier saia you 
would — in your violin. See if you don't. 
Things that aren't beautiful you'll make 
beautiful — because we find what we are look- 
ing f r, and you're looking for beautiful things. 
After all, boy, if we march straight ahead, chin 
up, and sing our own little song with all our 
might and main, we shan". come so far amiss 
from the goa', I'm thinking. There! that's 
preaching, and I did n't mean to preach; but — 
well, to tell the truth, that was meant for my- 
self, for — I 'm hunting for the beautiful world, 
too." 

"Yes, sir, I know," returned David fervently. 
And again Mr. Jack, looking into the sympa- 
thetic, glowing dark eyes, wondered if, after all, 
David really could — know. 

Even yet Mr. Jack was not used to David; 
there were "so many of him," he told himself. 
There were the boy, the artist, and a third per- 
25o 



THE UNBEAUTIFUL WORLD 
sonality so evanescent that it defied being 
npmed. The boy was jolly, impetuous, coiifi- 
denlial. and delightful — plainly reveling in all 
manner of fun and frolic. The artist was noth- 
ing but a bunch of nerv..us alertness, ready to 
find melody and rhytiim in every passing 
thought or flying cloud. The third — that 
bafning third that defied ihc naming — was a 
dreamy, visionarv-, unlouchable creature who 
floated so far above ones head that one's hand 
could never pull him down to get a good square 
chance to see what he did look like. All this 
thought Mr. Jack as ht gazed into David's 
luminous eyes. 



CHAPTER XX 






THE UNFAMILIAR WAY 

In September David entered the village school. 
School and David did not assimilate at once. 
Very confidently the teacher set to work to 
grade her new pupil; but she was not so confi- 
dent when she found that while in Latin he 
was perilously near herself (and in French — 
which she was not required to teach — disas- 
trously beyond her!), in United States history 
he knew only the barest outlines of certain 
portions, and could not name a single battle 
in any of its wars. In most studies he was far 
beyond boys of his own age, yet at every turn 
she encountered these puzzling spots of dis- 
crepancy, which rendered grading in the ordi- 
nary way out of the question. 

David's methods of recitation, too, were pe- 
culiar, and somewhat disconcerting. He also 
did not hesitate to speak aloud when he chose, 
no- to rise from his seat and move to any part 
of the room as the whim seized him. In time, 
of course, all this was changed; but it was 
aSa 



HI 



- J0 



THE UNFAMILIAR WAY 
several days before the boy learned so to con- 
duct himself that he did not shatter to atoms 
the peace and propriety of the schoolroom 

Outside of school David had little work lo 
do now. though there were still left a few light 
tasks about the house. Home life at the Holly 
farmhouse was the same for Da- i, yet with 
a difference— the difference that comes from 
being really wanted instead of being merely du- 
tifully kept. There were other difTerences, too 
subtle differences that did not show, perhape 
but that still were there. 

Mr. and Mrs. Holly, more than ever now. 
were learning to look at the world through 
David's eyes. One day— one wonderful day— 
they even went to walk in the woods with the 
boy; and whenever before had Simeon Holly 
left his work for so frivolous a thing as a walk 
in the woods! 

It was not accomplished, however, without 
a struggle, as David could have told. The day 
was a Saturday, clear, crisp, and beautiful, with 
a promise of October in the air; r nd David 
fairly tingled to be free and away. Mrs. Holly 
was baking — and the birds sang unheard out- 
side her pantry window. Mr. Holly was digging 
353 



i%; 



I 



W il 



I ' !! 



il,: ;; 



JUST DAVID 
potatoes — and the clouds sailed unnoticed 
above his head. 

All the morning David urged and begged. If 
for once, just this once, they would leave every- 
thing and come, they -would not regret it, he 
was e. But they shook their heads and said, 
"No, no, impossible!" In the afternoon the 
pies were done and the potatoes dug, and David 
urged and pleaded again. If once, only this 
once, they would go to walk with him in the 
woods, he would be so happy, so very happy! 
And to please the boy — they went. 

It was a curious walk. Ellen Holly trod softly, 
•with timid feet. She threw hurried, frightened 
glances from side to side. It was plain that Ellen 
Holly did not know how to play. Simeon Holly 
stalked at her elbow, stern, silent, and preoc- 
cupied. It was plain that Simeon Holly not 
only did not know how to play, but did not 
even care to find out. 

The boy tripped ahead and talked. He had 
the air of a monarch displaying his kingdom. 
On one side was a bit of moss worthy of the 
closest attention; on another, a vine that car- 
ried allurement in every tendril. Here was a 
flower that was like a story for interest, and 
a54 



THE UNFAMILIAR WAY 

there was a bush that bore a secret worth the 
telling. Even Simeon Holly glowed into a 
semblance of life when David had unerringly 
picked out and called by name the spruce, and 
fir, and pine, and larch, and then, in answer 
to Mrs. Holly's murmured: "But, David 
Where's the difference? They look so much 
alike!" he had said: — 

"Oh, but they aren't, you know. Just see 
how much more pointed at the top that fir is 
than that spruce back there; and the branches 
grow straight out, too, like arms, and they're 
all smooth and tapering at the ends like a 
pussy-cat's tail. But the spruce back there — 
its branches turned down and out — did n't 
you notice? — and they're all bushy at the 
ends like a squirrel's tail. Oh, they're lots 
different! That's a larch 'way ahead — that 
one with the branches all scraggly and close 
down to the ground. I could start to climb that 
easy; but I couldn't that pine over there. 
See, it's 'way up, up, before there's a place for 
your foot! But I love pines. Up there on the 
mountains where I lived, the pines were so tall 
that it seemed as if God used them sometimes 
to hold up the sky." 

255 



' >l 



Mi 



1 " 



JUST DAVID 

And Simeon Holly heard, and said nothing; 
and that he did say nothing — especially noth- 
ing in answer to David's confident assertions 
concerning celestial and terrestrial architecture 
— only goes to show how well, indeed, the man 
was learning to look at the world through 
David's eyes. 

Nor were these all of David's friends to whom 
Mr. and Mrs. Holly were introduced on that 
memorable walk. There were the birds, and the 
squirrels, and, in fact, everything that had life. 
And each one he greeted joyously by name, 
as he would greet a friend whose home and 
habits he knew. Here was a wonderful wood- 
pecker, there was a beautiful bluejay. Ahead, 
that brilliant bit of color that flashed across 
their path was a tanager. Once, far up in the 
sky, as they crossed an open space, David spied 
a long black streak moving southward. 

"Oh, see!" he exclaimed. "The crows! See 
them? — 'way up there? Would n't it be fun 
if we could do that, and fly hundreds and hun- 
dreds of miles, maybe a thousand?" 

"Oh, David," remonstrated Mrs. Holly, un- 
behevingly. 
"But they do! These look as if they'd 
356 



I, 



THE UNFAMILIAR WAY 

Started on their winter journey South, too; but 
If they have, they're early. Most of them don't 
go till October. They come baclt in March, you 
know. Though I've had them, on the moun- 
tam, that stayed all the year with me." 

"My! but I love to watch them go," mur- 
mured David, his eyes following the rapidly 

disappearingblack line. "Lots ofbirdsyou can't 
see, you know, when they start for the South 
They fly at night — the woodpeckers and ori- 
oles and cuckoos, and lots of others. They're 
afraid. I guess, don't you? But I've seen them 
I've watched them. They tell each other when 
they're going to start." 

"Oh, David," remonstrated Mrs. Holly, 
again, her eyes reproving, but plainly en- 
thralled. 

"But they do tell each other." claimed the 
boy, with sparkling eyes. "They must! For. 
all of a sudden, some night, you'll hear the 
signal, and then they'll begin to gather from all 
directions. I've seen them. Then, suddenly, 
they're all up and off to the South — not in 
one big flock, but broken up into little flocks, 
following one after another, with such a beau- 
tiful whir of wings. Oof — 00/— oof! — and 
267 



i 



JUST DAVID 
they're gone! And I don't see them again till 
next year. But you've seen the swallows, 
have n't you? They go in the daytime, and 
they're the easiest to tell of any of them. They 
fly so swift and straight. Have n't you seen the 
swallows go?" 

"Why, I — I don't know, David," mur- 
mured Mrs. Holly, with a helpless glance at 
her husband stalking on ahead. " I — I did n't 
know there were such things to — to know." 
There was more, much more, that David 
said before the walk came to an end. And 
though, when it did end, neither Simeon Holly 
nor his wife said a word of its having been a 
pleasure or a profit, there was yet on their faces 
something of the peace and rest and quietness 
that belonged to the woods they had left. 

It was a beautiful month — that September, 
and David made the most of it. Out of school 
meant out of doors for him. He saw Mr. Jack 
and Jill often. He spent much time, too, with 
the Lady of the Roses. She was still the Lady 
of the Roses to David, though in the garden 
now were the purple and scarlet and yellow of 
the asters, salvia, and golden glow instead of 
the blush and perfume of the roses. 
258 



THE UNFAMILIAR WAY 
David was very much at home at Sunny- 
crest. He was welcome, he knew, to go where 
he pleased. Even the servants were kind to 
him, as well as was the elderly cousin whom he 
seldom saw, but who, he knew, lived there as 
company for his Lady of the Roses. 

Perhaps best, next to the garden, David 
loved the tower room; possibly because Miss 
Holbrook herself so often suggested that they 
fio there. And it was there that they were when 

he said, dreamily, one day: 

"I like this place — up here so high, only 
sometimes it does make me think of that Prin- 
cess, because it was in a tower like this that she 
was, you know." 

"Fairy stories, David?" asked Miss Hol- 
brook lightly. 

"No, not exactly, though there was a Prin- 
cess m it. Mr. Jack told it." David's eyes were 
still out of the window. 

"Oh, Mr. Jack! And does Mr. Jack often 
tell you stories?" 

"No. He never told only this one — and 
maybe that's why I remember it so." 

"Well, and what did the Princess do?" Miss 
Holbrook's voice was still light, still carelessly 
269 



l<: S 



s: iS 



JUST DAVID 
preoccupied. Her attention, plainly, was given 
to the sewing in her hand. 

"She didn't do, and that's what was the 
trouble." sighed David. "She didn't wave. 

\ou know." 

The needle in Miss Holbrook's fingers stop- 
ped short in mid-air. the thread half-dravTi. 

"Didn't — wave!" she stammered. "What 
do you — mean?" 

"Nothing." laughed the boy, turning away 
from the window. "I forgot that you did n't 
know the story." 

"But maybe I do — that is — what was the 
story?" 5sked Miss Holbrook. wetting her Ups 
as if they had grown suddenly very dry. 

"Oh do you? I wonder nowl It wasnt 
•The Prince and the Pauper,' but the Princess 
and the Pauper." cited David; "and they used 
to wave signals, and answer with flags. Do you 
know the story?" 

There was no answer. Miss Holbrook was 
putting away her work, hurriedly, and with 
hands that shook. David noticed that she even 
pricked herself in her anxiety to get the needle 
tucked away. Then she drew him to a low 
stool at her side. 

a6o 



THE UNFAMILIAR WAY 
"David. I want you to tell me that story, 
please," she said, "just as Mr. Jack told it to 
you. Now, be careful and put it all in, because 
I — I want to hear it," she finished, with an odd 
little laugii that seemed to bring two bright red 
spots to her cheeks. 

"Oh, do you want to hear it? Then I will tell 
it," cried David joyfully. To David, almost as 
delightful as to hear a story was to tell one 
himself. "Yousee, nrst— " And he plunged 
headlong into the introduction. 

David knew it well — that story; and there 
was, perhaps, little that he for-ot. It might 
not have been always told in Mr. Jack's lan- 
guage; but his meaning was there, and very in- 
tently Miss Holbrook listened while David told 
of the boy and the giri, the wavings, and the 
flags that were blue, black, and red. She laughed 
once, — that was at the little joke with the 
beUs that the girl played, — but she did not 
speak until sometime later when David was 
telling of the first home-coming of the Princess 
and of the time when the boy on his tiny piazza 
watched and watched in vain for a waving 
white signal from the tower. 
"Do you mean to say," interposed Miss 



i. 



JUST DAVID 

Holbrook then, almost starting to her feet, 
"that that boy expected — " She stopped sud- 
denly, and fell back in her chair. Thi two red 
spots on her cheeks had become a rosy glow 
now, all over her face. 

"Expected what?" asked David. 

"N— nothing. Go on. I was so — so in- 
terested." explained Miss Holbrook faintly. 
"Go on." 

And David did go on; nor did the story lose 
by his telling, It gained, indeed, some'hing, for 
now it had woven through it the very strong 
sympathy of a boy who loved the Pauper for 
his sorrow and hated the Princess for causing 
that sorrow. 

"And so," he concluded mournfully, "you 
see it is n't a very nice story, after all, for it 
did n't end well a bit. They ought to have got 
married and lived happy ever after. But they 
did n't." 

Miss Holbrook drew in her breath a little un- 
certainly, and put her hand to her throat. Her 
face now, instead of being red, was very white. 

"But, David," she faltered, after a moment, 
"perhaps he — the — Pauper — did not — not 
love the Princess any longer." 
363 




"THEN, WHY DID NT HE GO TO H 



EK and-axd-te;,l HKB?" 



m 



Li 



THE UNFAMILIAR WAY 

"Mr. Jack said that he did." 

The white face went suddenly pink again. 

"Then, why did n't he go to her and — and 
— tell her?" 

David lifted his , hin. With all his dignity 
he answered, and his words and accent were 
Mr. Jack's. 

"Paupers don't go to Princesses, and say, 
'I love you.'" 

"But perhaps if they did — that is — if—" 
Miss Holbrook bit her lips and did not finish 
her sentence. She did not, indeed, say any- 
thing more for a long time. But she had not 
forgotten the story. David knew that, be- 
cause later she began to question him carefully 
about many little points — points that he was 
very sure he had already made quite plain. 
She talked about it, indeed, until he wondered 
if perhaps she were going to tell it to some one 
else sometime. He asked her if she were; but 
she only shook her head. And after that she 
did not question him any more. And a little 
later David went home. 



I 



CHAPTER XXI 



HEAVY HEARTS 

For a w\ k David had not been near the House 
that Jack Luilt, and tnat, too, when Jill had 
been confined within doors for several days 
with a cold. Jill, indeed, was inclined to be 
grieved at this apparent lack of interest on the 
part of her favorite playfellow; but upon her 
return from her first day of school, after her 
recovery, she met her brother with startled 
eyes. 

"Jack, it has n't been David's fault at all," 
she cried remirsefuUy. "He's sick." 

"Sick!" 

"Yes; awfully sick. They've had to send 
away for doctors and everything." 

"Why, Jill, are you sure? Where did you 
hear this?" 

"At school to-day. Every one was talking 
about it." 

"But what is the matter?" 

"Fever — some sort. Some say it's typhoid, 
and sime scarlet, and some say another kin 1 
a64 



HEAVY HEARTS 
that I can't remember; but everybody says he's 
awfully sick. He got it down to Glaspeirs, bomc 
say, — and some say he did n't. But, anyhow, 
Betty Glaspell has been sick with something, 
and they have n't let folks in there as week," 
finished Jill, her eyes big with terror. 

"The Glaspells? But what was David doing 
down there?" 

"Why, vou know, — he told us once,— 
tee'-ingJoetoplay. He's been there lots. Joe 
is blind, you know, and can't see, but he just 
!oves music, and was crazy over David's violin; 
so David took down his other one — the one 
that was his father's, you know — and showed 
him how to pick out little tunes, just to take 
up his time so he would n't mind so much that 
he could n't set. Now, Jack, was n't that just 
like David? Jack, I can't have anything hap- 
pen to David!" 

"No, dear, no; of course not! I'm afraid we 
can't any of us, for that matter," sighed Jack, 
his forehead drawn into anxious lines. " I '11 go 
down to the Hollys', Jill, the first thing to- 
morrow morning, and see how he is and if 
there's anything we can do. Meanwhile, don't 
take it too much to heart, dear. It may not be 
a65 




JUST DAVID 

half so bad as you think. School-children al- 
ways get things like that exaggerated, you must 
remember," he finished, speaking with a light- 
ness that he did not feel. 

To himself the man owned that he was 
troubled, seriously troubled. He had to admit 
that Jill's story bore the earmarks of truth; 
and overwhelmingly he realized now just how 
big a place this somewhat puzzUng small boy 
had come to fill in his own heart. He did not 
need Jill's anxious. "Now, hurry. Jack," the 
next morning to start him off in all haste for 
the Holly farmhouse. A dozen rods from the 
driveway he met Perry Larson and stopped him 
abruptly. 

"Good morning, Larson; I hope this isn't 
true — what I hear — that David is very ill." 

Larson pulled oil his hat and with his free 
hand sought the one particular spot on his 
head to which he always appealed when he was 
very much troubled. 

"Well, yes, sir, I'm afraid 'tis, Mr. Jack — 
er — Mr. Gumsey, I mean. He is turrible sick, 
poor little chap, an' it's too bad — that's what 
it is — too bad!" 

"Oh, I 'm sorry! I hoped the report was 
366 



HEAVY HEARTS 

exaggerated. I came down to see if — if there 
was n't something I could do." 

"Well, 'course you can ask — there ain't no 
law ag'in' that; an' ye needn't be afraid, 
neither. The report has got 'round that it's 
ketchin' — what he's got, and that he got it 
down to the Glaspells' ; but 't ain't so. The doc- 
tor says he did n't ketch nothin', an' he can't 
give nothin'. It's his head an' brain that ain't 
right, an' he's got a mighty bad fever. He's 
been kind of flighty an' nervous, anyhow, 
lately. 

"As I was sayin', 'course you can ask, but 
I'm thinkin' there won't be nothin' you can 
do ter help. Ev'rythin' that can be done is 
bein' done. In fact, there ain't much of any- 
thin' else that is bein' done down there jest 
now but 'tendin' ter him. They've got one o' 
them 'ere edyercated nurses from the Junction 
— what wears caps, ye know, an' makes yer feel 
as if they knew it all, an' you did n't know 
nothin'. An' then there's Mr. an' Mis' Holly 
besides. If they had their way, there would n't 
neither of 'em let him out o' their sight fur a 
minute, they're that cut up about it." 
" I fancy they think a good deal of the boy 
267 



li 



JUST DAVID 

— as we all do," murmured the younger man, 
a little unsteadily. 

Larson wrinkled his forehead in deep thought. 

"Yes; an' that's what beats me," he an- 
swered slowly; '"bout him, — Mr. Holly, I 
mean. 'Course we'd 'a' expected it of her — 
losin' her own boy as she did, an' bein' jest 
naturally so sweet an' lovin'-hearted. But him 

— that's diff'rent. Now, you know jest as well 
as I rio what Mr. Holly is — every one does, 
so I ain't sayin' not^iin' sland'rous. He's a good 
man — a powerful good man; an' there ain't a 
squarer man goin' ter work fur. But the fact 
is, he was made up wrong side out, an' the 
seams has always showed bad — turrible bad, 
with ravelin's all stiCkin' out every which way 
ter ketch an' pull. But, gosh! I'm blamed if 
that 'ere boy ain't got him so smoothed down, 
you would n't know, scursely, that he had a 
seam on him, sometimes; though how he's 
done it beats me. Now, there's Mis' Holly — 
she's tried ter smooth 'em, I '11 warrant, lots of 
times. But I 'm free ter say she hain't never so 
much as clipped a ravelin' in all them forty 
years they've lived tergether. Fact is, it's 
worked the other way with her. All that her 

368 



HEAVY HEARTS 
rubbin' up ag'in' them seams has amounted 
to is ter git herself so smoothed down that 
she don't never dare ter say her soul's her 
own, most generally,— anyhow, not if he hap- 
pens ter intermate it belongs ter anybody 
else!" 

Jack Gurnsf suddenly choked over a cough. 

"I wish I could — do something," he mur- 
murod uncertainly. 

x' ain't likely ye can— not so long as Mr. 
an' Mis' Holly is on their two feet. Why, there 
ain't nothin' they won't do, an' you'll believe 
it, maybe, when I tell you that yesterday Mr. 
Holly, he tramped all through Sawyer's woods 
in the rain, jest ter find a Uttle bit of moss that 
the boy was callin' for. Think o' that, will ye? 
Simeon Holly huntin' moss! An' he got it, too, 
an' brung it home, an' they say it cut him up 
somethin' turrible when the boy jest turned 
away, and did n't take ho notice. You under- 
stand, 'course, sir, the little chap ain't right in 
his head, an' so half the time he don't know 
what he says." 

"Oh, I'm sorry, sorry!" exclaimed Gurnsey, 
as he turned away, and hurried toward the 
farmhouse. 

360 



M 



JUST DAVID 

Mrs. Holly herself answered his low knock. 
She looked worn and pale. 

"Thank you, sir," she said gratefully, in re- 
ply to his offer of assistance, "but there is n't 
anything you can do, Mr. Gtimsey. We're 
having everything done that can be, and every 
one is very kind. We have a very good nurse, 
and Dr. Kennedy has had consultation with Dr. 
Benson from the Junction. They are doing all 
in their power, of course, but they say that — 
that it's going to , be the nursing that will 
count now." 

"Then I don't fear for him, surely," declared 
the man, with fervor. 

"I know, but — well, he shall have the very 
best possible — of that." 

" I know he will; but isn't there anything — 
.'.nything that I can do?" 

She shook her head. 

"No. Of course, if he gets better — " She 
hesitated: then lifted her chin a little higher; 
"When he gets better," she corrected with 
courageous emphasis, " he will want to see you." 
I "And he shall see me," asserted Gumsey. 
"And he will be better, Mrs. Holly, — I'm 
sure he will." 

370 



HEAVY HEARTS 

"Yes, yes, of course, only — oh, Mr. Jack, 
he's so sick — so very sick! The doctor says 
he's a peculiarly sensitive nature, and that he 
thinks something 's been troubling him lately." 
Her voice broke. 

"Poor Uttle chap!" Mr. Jack's voice, too, 
was husky. 

She looked up with swift gratefulness for his 
synrvpathy. 

".Vnd you loved him, too, I know," she 
choked. "He talks of you often — very often." 

"Indeed I love him! Who could help it?" 

"There could n't anybody, Mr. Jack, — and 
that's just it. Now, since he's been sick, we've 
wondered more than ever who he is. You see, 
I canH help thinking that somewhere he's 
got friends who ought to know about him — 
now." 

"Yes, I see," nodded the man. 

"He is n't an ordinary boy, Mr. Jack. He's 
been trained in lots of ways — about his man- 
ners, and at the table, and all that. And lots of 
things his father has told him are beautiful, 
just beautiful! He isn't a tramp. He never 
was one. And there's his playing. You know 
how he can play." 

371 



JUST DAVID 

"Indeed I do! You must miss his playing, 
too." 

"I do; he talks of that, also," she hurried on, 
working her fingers nervously together; "but 
oftenest he — he speaks of singing, and I can't 
quite understand that, for he did n't ever sing, 
you know." 

"Singing? What does he say?" The man 
asked the question because he saw that it was 
affording the overwrought little woman real 
relief to free her mind ; but at the first words of 
her reply he becaiiie suddenly alert. 

"It's 'his song,' as he calls it, that he talks 
about, always. It is n't much — what he says 
— but I noticed it because he always says the 
same thing, like this: 'I'll just hold up my 
chin and march straight on and on, and I'll 
sing it with all my might and main." And when 
I ask him what he's going to sing, he always 
says, 'My song — my song,' just like that. Do 
you think, Mr. Jack, he did have — a song?" 

For a moment the man did not answer. 
Something in his throat tightened, and held 
the words. Then, in a low voice he managed to 
stanuner: — 

" I think he did, Mrs. Holly, and — I think 
373 



HEAVY HEARTS 
he sang it, too." The next moment, with a 
quick lifting of his hat and a murmured "I'll 
call again soon," he turned and walked swiftly 
down the driveway. 

So very swiftly, indeed, was Mr. Jack walk- 
ing, and so self-absorbed was he, that he did 
not see the carriage until it was almost upon 
him; then he stepped aside to let it pass. What 
he saw as he gravely raised his hat was a hand- 
some span of black horses, a liveried coachman, 
and a pair of startled eyes looking straight into 
his. What he did not see was the quick gesture 
with which Miss Holbrook almost ordered her 
carriage stopped the minute it had passed 
him by. 



CHAPTER XXII 



v\ 



AS PERRY SAW IT 

One by one the days passed, and there came 
from the anxious watchers at David's bedside 
only the words, "There's very little change." 
Often Jack Gurnsey went to the farmhouse to 
inquire for the boy. Often, too, he saw Perry 
Larson; and Perry was never loath to talk of 
David. It was from Perry, indeed, that Gurnsey 
began to learn some things of David that he 
had never known before. 

"It does beat all," Perry Larson said to him 
one day, "how many folks asks me how that 
boy is — folks that you'd never think knew 
him, anyhow, ter say nothin' of carin' whether 
he lived or died. Now, there's old Mis' Somers, 
fur instance. You know what she is — sour as 
a lemon an' puckery as a chokecherry. Well, if 
she did n't give me yesterday a great bo-kay 
o' posies she'd growed herself, an' said they 
was fur him — that they berlonged ter him, 
anyhow. 

"'Course, I didn't exactly sense what she 
274 



AS PERRY SAW IT 

meant by that, so I asked her straight out; an* 
it seems that somehow, when the boy first 
come, he struck her place one day an* spied 
a great big red rose on one of her bushes. It 
seems he had his fiddle, an' he 'played it' — 
that rose a-growin' (you know his way I), an' she 
heard an' spoke up pretty sharp an' asked him 
what in time he was doin'. Well, most kids 
would 'a' run, — knowin' her temper as they 
does, — but not much Dpvid. He stands up as 
pert as ye please, an" tells her how happy that 
red rose must be ter make all that dreary 
garden look so pretty; an' then he goes on, 
merry as a lark, a-playin' down the hill. 

"Well, Mis' Somers owned up ter me that 
she was pretty mad at the time, 'cause her 
garden did look like tunket, an' she knew it. 
She said she had n't cared ter do a thing with 
it since her Bessie died that thought so much 
of it. But after what David had said, even mad 
as she was, the thing kind o" got on her nerves, 
an' she could n't see a thing, day or night, but 
that red rose a-growin' there so pert an' cour- 
ageous-like, until at last, jest ter quiet herself, 
she fairly had ter set to an' slick that garden up ! 
She said she raked an' weeded, an' fixed up all 
276 



It 

if 



li 



):>! 



JUST DAVID 

the plants there was, in good shape, an' then 
she sent down to the Junction fur some all 
growed in pots, 'cause 't was too late ter plant 
seeds. An, now it's doin' beautiful, so she jest 
could n't help sendin' them posies ter David. 
When I told Mis' Holly, she said she was glad 
it happened, 'cause what Mis' Somers needed 
was somethin' ter git her out of herself — an' 
I'm free ter say she did look better-natured, 
an' no mistake, — kind o' hke a chokecherry 
in blossom, ye might say." 

"An' then there's the Widder Glaspell," 
continued Perry, after a pause. '"Course, any 
one would expect she'd feel bad, seein' as how 
good David was ter her boy — teachin' him ter 
play, ye know. But Mis' Glaspell says Joe jest 
does take on somethin' turrible, an' he won't 
tech the fiddle, though he was plum carried 
away with it when David wa^ well an' teachin' 
of him. An' there's the Clark kid. He's lame, 
ye know, an' he thought the world an' all of 
David's playin'. 

'"Course, there's you an' Miss Holbrook, 

always askin' an' sendin' things — but that 

ain't so strange, 'cause you was 'specially his 

friends. But it's them others what beats me. 

376 



AS PERRY SAW IT 

Why, some days it's 'most ev'ry soul I meet, 
jest askin" how he is, an' sayin" they hopes 
he'll git well. Sometimes it's kids that he's 
played to. an' I'll be jiggered if one of 'em 
one day did n't have no excuse to offer ex- 
cept that David had fit him — 'bout a cat, or 
somethin" — an' that ever since then he'd 
thought a heap of him — though he guessed 
David did n't know it. Listen ter that, will 
ye! 

"An' once a woman held me up, an' took on 
tumble, but all I could git from her was that 
he'd sat on her doorstep an' played ter her 
baby once or twice; — as if that was any thin' I 
But one of the derndest funny ones was the 
woman who said she could wash her dishes a 
sight easier after she'd a-seen him go by 
playin'. There was Bill Dowd, too. You know 
he really has got a screw loose in his head some- 
wheres, an' there ain't any one but what says 
he's the town fool, all right. Well, what do 
ye think /lesaid?" 

Mr. Jack shook his head. 

"Well, he said he did hope as how nothin' 
would happen ter that boy, 'cause he did so 
like ter see him smile, an' that he always did 
277 



|! 






lif { i 



JUST DAVID 

smile every time he met him I There, what do 
ye think o* that?" 

"Well, I think, Perry," returned Mr. Jack 
soberly, "that Bill Dowd wasn't playing the 
fool, when he said that, quite so much as he 
sometimes is, perhaps." 

"Hm-m, maybe not," murmured Perry Lar- 
son perplexedly. "Still, I'm free ter say I do 
think *t was kind o' queer." He paused, then 
slapped his knee suddenly. "Say, did I tell 
ye about Streeter — Old Bill Streeter an' the 
pear tree?" 
Again Mr. Jack shook his head. 
"Well, then, I'm goin' to," declared the 
other, with gleeful emphasis. "An', say, I 
don't believe even you can explain this — I 
don't 1 Well, you know Streeter — ev'ry one 
does, so I ain't sayin' nothin' sland'rous. He 
was cut on a bias, an' that bias runs ter money 
every tinje. You know as well as I do that he 
won't lift his finger unless there's a dollar 
stickin" to it, an' that he hain't no use fur 
anythin' nor anybody unless there's money in 
it for him. I'm blamed if I don't think that if 
he ever gits ter heaven, he'll pluck his own wings 
an' sell the feathers fur what they'll bring." 
378 



I'll 



AS PERRY SAW IT 

"Oh, Perry I" remonslraled Mr. Jack, in a 
half-stifled voice. 

Perry Larson only grinned and went on im- 
perlurbably. 

"Well, scein' as we both understand what he 
is, I'll tell ye what he done. lie called me up 
ter his fence one day, big as life, an' says lu>, 
'How's the boy?' An' you could 'a' knocked 
me down with a feather. Streetcr — a-askin' 
how a boy was that was sick! An' he seemed 
ter care, too. I hain't seen him look so long- 
faced since — since he was paid up on a sartin 
note I knows of, jest as he was smackin' his 
lips over a nice fat farm that was comin' to him ! 

"Well, I was that plum puzzled that I meant 
ter fmd out why Strecler was takin' sech notice, 
if I hung fur it. So I set to on a little detective 
work of my own, knowin', of course, that 
't wa'n't no use askin' of him himself. Well, an' 
what do you s'pose I found out? If that little 
scamp of a boy had n't even got round him — 
Streeter, the skinflint! He had — an' he went 
there often, the neighbors said; an' Streeter 
doted on him. They declared that actually he 
give him a cent once — though that part / 
ain't swallerin' yet. 

279 



i t 




JUST DAVID 

"They said — the neighbors did — that it 
all started from the pear tree — that big one 
ter the left of his house. Maybe you remember 
it. Well, anyhow, it seems that it's old, an' 
through bearin' any fruit, though it still blos- 
soms fit ter kill, every year, only a little late 
'most always, an' the blossoms stay on longer "n 
common, as if they knew there wa'n't nothin' 
doin' later. Well, old Streeter said it had got 
ter come down. I reckon he suspected it of 
swipin' some of the sunshine, or maybe a little 
rain that belonged ter the tree t'other side of 
the road what did bear fruit an' was worth 
somethin' ! Anyhow, he got his man an' his axe, 
an' was plum ready ter start in when he sees 
David an' David sees him. 

'"T was when the boy first come. He'd gone 
ter walk an' had struck this pear tree, all in 
bloom, — an' 'course, you know how the boy 
would act — a pear tree, bloomin', is a likely 
sight, I'll own. He danced and laughed and 
clapped his hands, — he did n't have his fiddle 
with him, — an' carried on like all possessed. 
Then he sees the man with the axe, an' Streeter; 
an' Streeter sees him. 

"They said it was rich then — Bill Warner 
380 



AS PERRY SAW IT 

heard it all from t'other side .-f Jic fence. He 
said that David, when he fo.cud out niuil was 
goin' ter happen, went clea i (tazy, an' ram- 
paged on at such a rate iJ :i: oiJ Ftreeter 
could n't do nothin' but stand an' stare, until 
he finally managed ter growl out: 'But I tell 
ye, boy, the tree ain't no use no more!' 

"Bill says the boy flew all to pieces then. 
'No use — no use!' he cries; 'such a perfectly 
beautiful thing as that no use! Why, it don't 
have ter be any use when it's so pretty. It's 
jest ter look at an' love, an' be happy with!' 
Fancy sayin' that ter old Streeter! I'd like ter 
seen his face. But Bill says that wa'n't half 
what the boy said. He declared that 'twas 
God's present, anyhow, that trees was; an' 
that the things He give us ter look at was jest 
as much use as the things He give us ter eat; 
an' that the stars an' the sunsets an' the snow- 
flakes an' the little white cloud-boats, an' I 
don't know what-all, was jest as important in 
the Orchestra of Life as turnips an' squashes. 
An' then, Billy says, he ended by jest flingin' 
himself on ter Streeter an' beggin' him ter wait 
till he could go back an' git his fiddle so he could 
tell him what a beautiful thing that tree was. 
281 



f 
i 

1 ll 

i 

i 




B '^ 


^B' ! i 


HI i 



JUST DAVID 

"Well, if you'll believe it, old Streeter was so 
plum befuzzled he sent the man an' the axe 
away — an' that tree's a-livin' tor-day — 't is!" 
he finished; then, with a sudden gloom on his 
face, Larson added, huskily: "An' I only hope 
I'll be sayin' the same thing of that boy — 
come next month at this time!" 

"We'll hope you will," sighed the other fer- 
vently. 

And so one by one the days passed, while the 
whole town waited and while in the great airy 
"parlor bedroom" of the Holly farmhouse one 
small boy fought his battle for life. Then came 
the blackest day and night of all when the town 
could only wait and watch — it had lost its 
hope; when the doctors shook their heads and 
refused to meet Mrs. Holly's eyes; when the 
pulse in the slim wrist outside the coverlet 
played hide-and-seek with the cool, persistent 
fingers that sought so earnestly for it; when 
Perry Larson sat for uncounted sleepless hours 
by the kitchen stove, and learfully listened for 
a step crossing the hallway; when Mr. Jack on 
his porch, and Miss Holbrook in her tower 
window, went with David down into the dark 
valley, and came so near the rushing river that 
383 



AS PERRY SAW IT 

.'ife, with its petty prides and prejudices, could 
never seem quite the same to them again. 

Then, after that blackest day and nigiit, 
came the dawn — as the dawns do come after 
the blackest of days and nights. In the slender 
wrist outside the coveriet the pulse gained and 
steadied. On the forehead beneath the nurse's 
fingers, a moisture came. The doctors nodded 
their heads now, and looked every one straiglit 
in the eye. "He will live," they said. "The 
crisis is passed." Out by the kitchen stove 
Perry Larson heard the step cross the hall and 
sprang upright; but at the first glimpse of Mrs. 
Holly's tear-wet, yet radiant face, he collapsed 
limply. 

"Gosh!" he muttered. , do you know, 

I did n't s'pose I did care so much! I reckon 
I '11 go an' tell Mr. Jack. He'll want ter hear " 



! S 



CHAPTER XXIII 

PUZZLES 

David's convalescence was picturesque, in a 
way. As soon as he was able, like a king he 
sat upon his throne and received his subjects; 
and a very gracious king he was, indeed. His' 
room overflowed with flowers and fruit, and his 
bed quite groaned with the toys and books 
and games brought for his diversion, each one 
of which he hailed with delight, from Miss 
Holbrook's sumptuously bound "Waverley 
Novels" to little crippled Jimmy Clark's bag 
of marbles. 

Only two things puzzled David: one was why 
everybo: , was so good to him; and the other 
was wh> he never could have the pleasure of 
both Mr. Jack's ard Miss Holbrook's company 
at the same time. 

David discovered this last curious circum- 
stance concerning Mr. Jack and Miss Holbrook 
very early in his convalescence. It was on the 
second afternoon that Mr. Jack had been ad- 
284 



PUZZLES 

S all Setf'-""'"- ^^^•'^ ''^d »>- hear- 

nHH . K '' "^"^^ °^ J'" ^"d Joe. when 

Sttfat"°"^^'^^"°^^^'>-«--tors 

The windows of the Holly "parlor bedroom " 
commanded a fine view of the road, andUwas 
toward one of these windows that Mr Jack's 
eyes were directed. David, sitting up in bed 

IZtliwl tZ ''' ^"^^ - appUh5 
In7an n ^ "'''°'"' 'P"" °^ '''a'=k horses 
and an open carriage which he had come to 
recogn belonging to Miss Holbrook He 

watched U eagerly now till he saw the hor^s 
turn m at the Holly driveway. Then he rve 
a low cry of delight. ^ ^ 

"It's my Lady of the Roses! She's coming 
°;^^'"^- Look! Oh,I'msogIad! Nowyou'l? 
see her. and just know how lovely she is. Why 
Mr Jack, you aren't going nou,!" he broke 
off m manifest disa -pointment. as Mr Jack 
leaped to his feet. ^'^'^ 

niv-^'"'"^ ^'" ^^""^ '"' '^ y°" don't mind 

hasS i. h- ""' '""^ ™"' - °ddly nervous 
haste in his manner. "And you won't mind 
now that you'll have Miss HolbroT I wan^ 
to spea^ to Larson. I saw him in the field o't 
385 



JUST DAVID 
there a minute ago. And I guess I'll slip right 
through this window here, too, David I don't 
want to lose him; and I can catch him qute 

"Oh, but Mr. Jack, please just wait a min- 

Lady of the Roses, and -" But Mr. Jark was 
already on the ground outside the low windr 
and the next mmute, with a merry nod and 

and was hurrying away. 

Almost at once. then. Miss Holbrook ao- 
peared at the bedroom door ^ 

"Mrs. Holly said I was to walk right in 

fof "ot"''r;'^''^''^«-'-''chee-; 
voice. Oh, you're looking lots better than 
when I saw you Monday, young man"' 

I'm -r T'l """"^'^ ^^^''^= "«nd to-day 

"Oh. has Mr. Jack been to see you to^lay?" 
brtk's~ '"'^^''"^^'^ ''-^^^ - ^^- Hol- 

"Yes. right now. Why. he was here when 
you were driving into the yard." 
286 



PUZZLES 

window there •• "' "*' """Sli Ihal 

David's eyes widened a JittJe 
he'd lose him h? u '''"'^ "^^^ a^aid 

■.^^''"'■'"^'■'■■'■"P' you didn't,,,, 
>87 



JUST DAVID 

"Oh, yes, I did. But he could n't stay, even 
then. You see, he wanted to catch Perry Larson." 

"I've no doubt of it," retorted Miss Hol- 
brook, with so much emphasis that David again 
looked at her with a slightly disturbed frown. 

"But he'll come again soon, I'm sure, and 
then maybe you'll be here, too. I do so want 
him to see you. Lady of the Roses!" 

"Nonsense, David!" laughed Miss Hoibrook 
a little nervously. "Mr. — Mr. Gurnsey does n' t 
want to see me. He's seen me dozens of times." 

"Oh, yes, he told me he'd seen you long ago," 
nodded David gravely; "but he did n't act as 
if he remembered it much." 

"Didn't he, indeed!" laughed Miss Hoi- 
brook, again flushing a little. "Well, I'm sure, 
dear, we would n't want to tax the poor gentle- 
man's memory too much, you know. Come, 
suppose you see what I've brought you," she 
finished gayly. 

"Oh, what is it?" cried David, as, under 
Miss Holbrook's swift fingers, the wrappings 
fell away and disclosed a box which, upon being 
opened, was found to be filled with quantities 
of oddly shaped bits of pictured wood — a 
jumble of confusion. 

a88 



PUZZLES 

"It's a jig-saw puzzle, David. All these little 
pieces fitted together make a picture, you see. 
I tried last night and I could n't do it. I brought 
it down to see if you could." 

"Oh, thank you! I'd love to," rejoiced the 
boy. And in the fascination of the marvel of 
finding one fantastic bit that fitted another, 
David apparently forgot all about Mr. Jack -- 
which seemed not unpleasing to his Lady of 
the Roses. 

1 1 was not until nearly a week later that David 
had his wish of seeing his Mr. Jack and his 
Lady of the Roses meet at his bedside. It was 
the day Miss Holbrook brought to him the 
wonderful set of handsomely bound "Waverley 
Novels." He was still glor>;ng in his new pos- 
session, in fact, when Mr. Jack appeared sud- 
denly in the doorway. 

"Hullo, my boy, I just— Oh, I beg your 
pardon. I supposed you were — alone," he 
stammered, looking very red indeed. 

"He is — that is, he will be, soon — except 
for you, Mr. Gurnsey," smiled Miss Holbrook, 
very brightly. She was already on her feet. 

"No, no, I beg of you," stammered Mr. 
Jack, growing still more red. "Don't let me 



HI 



if 



JUST DAVID 

drive — that is, I mean, don't go, please. I 
did n't know. I had no warning — I did n't see 
— Your carriage was not at the door to-day." 

Miss Ilolbrook's eyebrows rose the fraction 
of an inch. 

" 1 sent it home. I am planning to walk back. 
I have several calls to make on the way; and 
it's high time I was starting. Good-bye, 
David." 

"But, Lady, of Ihf I ioses, please, please, 
don't go," besought David, who had been look- 
ing from one to the other in worried dismay. 
"Why, you've just come!" 

But neither coaxing nor argument availed; 
and before David really knew just what had 
happened, he found himself alone with Mr. 
Jack. 

Even then disappointment was piled on dis- 
appointment, for Ml. Jack's visit was not the 
unalloyed happiness it usually was. Mr. Jack 
himself was almost cross at first, and then he 
was silent and restless, moving jerkily about 
the room in a way that disturbed David very 
much. 

Mr. Jack had brought with him a book; but 
even that only made matters worse, for when he 
290 



PUZZLES 
saw the beautifully bound volumes that Miss 
Ilolbrook had just left, he frowned, and loS 

at all. w,th all thoseother fine books. And David 
could not seem to make hin. understand that 
the one book from him wa. just exactly as dea 
as were the whole set of books that his Lady 
of the Roses brought. 

Certainly it was not a satisfactory visit at 
a 1 and for the first time David was almost 
glad to have Mr. Jaek go and leave him with 
h.s books The 6ooA:5, David told himself, he 
could understand; Mr. Jack he could no - 
to-day. 

Several times after this David's Lady of the 
Roses and Mr. Jack happened to call at the 
same hour; but never could David persuade 
these two friends of his to stay together. Al- 
ways, .f one came and the other was there, the 
other went away, in spite of David's protesta- 
tions that two people did not lire him at all 
and his assertions that he often entertained as 
many as that at once. Tractable as they were 
in all other ways, anxious as they seemed to 
please him, on this one point they were ob- 
durate: never would they stay together. 
391 



JUST DAVID 

They were not angry with each other — 
David was sure of that, for they were always 
very especially polite, and rose, and stood, and 
bowed in a most delightful fashion. Still, he 
sometimes thought that they did not quite like 
each other, for always, after the one went away, 
the other, left behind, was silent and almost 
stern — if it was Mr. Jack; and flushed-faccd 
and nervous— if it was Miss Holbrook. But 
why this was so David could not understand. 

The span of handsome black horses came very 
frequently to the Holly farmhouse now. and 
as time passed they often bore away behind 
them a white-faced but happy-eyed boy on the 
seat beside Miss Holbrook. 

"My, but I don't see how every one can be 
80 good to me !" exclaimed the boy, one day, to 
his '^dy of the Roses. 

' Oh, that's easy. David." she smiled. "The 
only trouble is to find out what you want — 
you ask for so little." 

"But I don't need to ask — you do it all be- 
forehand." asserted the boy; "you and Mr. 
Jack, and everybody." 

" Really? That 's good." For a brie." moment 
Miss Holbrook hesitated; then, as if casually. 



_ Mi, 



PUZZLES 

she asked: "And he lells you stories too I ,..n. 
pose. — (his Mr Jack -l «... u **■ 

doesn't he?" •"'"''• -J""' "" he used to. 

"Well he never did tell me but one vou 
know, before; but he's inlH m ^ 

Binee I've been sick" '"''""'' '""^e now. 

PrincetTnd 'TT'"'- ""' '""' """^"^ '^he 
rrincess and the Pauper'; wasn't it? Well 

has he told you any more - like - - that''" ' 

The boy shook his head with dmsion.' 
^o, he does n't tell me any more like that 

!^*'^"°"'™f'«"«hedanttleoddly. 

she Sed"'''"''''^'''^'"''"^'-^'' »»'»'?" 

"The endinr it was n't nice, you know." 
un, ycj. - I remember." 

Ve asked him to change it," went on 
David ma grieved voice. "I ask d him just 
the other day, but he would n't " 

hZ^'I^P' ^^~^^ '^'''"'' ^ant to." Miss 
David barely heard the words. 

"Didn't want to? Oh, ves he rfMi ti 
looked awful sober, and ai ifh; ealJ^ ar J 

you know. And he said he'd give all he haTfn' 
393 



i 



JUST DAVID 

the world if he really could change it, but he 
could n't." 

"Did he say — just that?" Miss Holbrook 
was leaning forward a little breathlessly now. 

"Yes — just that; and that's the part I 
could n't understand," commented David. 
"For I don't see why a story — just a story 
made up out of somebody's head — can't be 
changed any way you want it. And I told 
him so." 

"Well, and what did he say to that?" 

"He did n't say anything for a minute, and 
I had to ask him again. Then he sat up sud- 
denly, just as if he'd been asleep, you know, 
and said, 'Eh, what, David?' And then I told 
him again what I'd said. This time he shook 
his head, and smiled that kind of a smile that 
is n't really a smile, you know, and said some- 
thing about a real, true-to-life story's never 
having but one ending, and that was a logical 
ending. Lady of the Roses, what is a logical 
ending?" 

The Lady of the Roses laughed unexpectedly. 

The two little red spots, that David always 

loved to see, flamed into her cheeks, and her 

eyes showed a sudden sparkle. When she an- 

ag4 



PUZZLES 
swered, her words came disconnectedly, with 
httle laughing breaths between 

"Well. David. I-I'm not sure I can-ldl 
you But perhaps I -can find out. TWs 
much however. I am sure of: Mr. Jack's logi! 
cal ending would n't be - minef ^ 

What she meant David did not know nor 
would she tell him when he asked; but a f"w 
days later she sent for him. and ^e^. gldly 

obeyed the summons. 

J^^ Ti ^°^^"^'' «°d the garden was bleak 
and cold; but m the library a bright fire dan^d 
on the hearth, and before this Miss Holbr^oJ 
drew up two low chairs 

thou«ht'°?h' ■T^f^'^'' P'^"^' D«-id 
thought. The nch red of her dress had ao- 

paremly bought out an answering redfn Zr 

cneelts. Her eyes were very bright and her 

Sur^t ''' "'' "•'^^ oddly nervous id 
restless. She sewed a little, with a bit of yellow 

^fh°twrf"'~''"'°°*^°^'-S- SheSed 
vath two long ivory needles flashing in and out 
of a silky mesh of blue -but this, too she 

:r hT'. 'r«- ^° ' '°- «^-d at David- 
side she had placed books and pictures, and for 
3g5 



1 






JUST DAVID 

a time she talked of those. Then very ab- 
ruptly she asked: — 

"David, when will you see — Mr. Jack again 
— do you suppose?" 

"To-morrow. I'm going up to the House 
that Jack Built to tea. and I'm to stay all 
night. It's Halloween — that is, it is n't really 
Halloween, because it's too late. I lost that 
being sick, you- know. So we're going to pre^ 
tend, and Mr. Jack is going to show me what 
It IS hke. That is what Mr. Jack and Jill always 
do; when something ails the real thing, they 
just pretend with the make-believe one. He's 
planned lots of things for Jill and me to do; 
with nuts and apples and candles, you know.' 
It's to-morrow night; so I '11 see him then." 

"To-morrow? So — so soon?" faltered Miss 
Holbrook. And to David, gazing at her with 
wondenng eyes, it seemed for a moment ahnost 
as if she were looking about for a place to which 
she might run and hide. Then determinedly, 
as if she were taking hold of something with 
both hands, she leaned forward, looked David 
squarely in the eyes, and began to talk hurriedly 
yet very distinctly. 
"David, listen. I 've something I want you to 
ag6 



PUZZLFS 

taps," she llniihed ]a„dy. And aoa/S n!^ 

«»««pe. Then, as before, he saw her chin lili 
de.e™.edly. ., .he h.,.. ^ ,„^ ^.^."C 

^•l>Iow. liMe.." she admoaished hta,, .,„. 
And David listened. 



.;^iii: 



CHAPTER XXIV 

A STORY REMODELED 

The pretended Halloween was a great success. 
5>o very excited, indeed, did David become 
over the swinging apples and popping nuts that 
he quKs forgot to tell Mr. Jack what the Lady 
of the 7^,oses had said until Jill had gone up to 
bed and he himself was about to take from 
Mr. Jack's hand the httle lighted lamp. 

.. ''°''' ^'■- ^^^^- I forgot." he cried then. 
There was something I was going to tell 
you." 

"Never mind to-night. David; it's so late. 
Suppose we leave it until to-morrow." sug- 
gested Mr. Jack, still with the lamp extended 
m his hand. 

"But I promised the Lady of the Roses that 
1 d say It to-night." demurred the boy. in a 
troubled voice. 

The man drew his lamp halfway back sud- 
denly. 

"The Lady of the Roses! Do you mean — 
she sent a message — to me?" he demanded. 



A STORY REMODELED 

"Yes; about the story, 'The Princess and the 
Pauper,' you know." 

With an abrupt exclamation Mr. Jack set 

the lamp on the table and turned to a chair. 

He had apparently lost his haste to go to bed. 

i>ee here, David, suppose you come and sit 

r"; T.'f ""' ^"^^ ^''^^ ^""•••e talking 
about. And first - just what does the Lady of 
the Roses know about that -that 'Princess 
and the Pauper'?" 

"Why. she knows it all. of couree," returned 
the boy m surpnse. "I told it to her " 

1»«J°" V ^°!^~ 't - to her!" Mr. Jack re- 
laxed m his chair. "David!" 

coZte."""' '"' "" ^"^ '' '"^^'•^^^^'^ «« 

together a httle grunly. 

"Only she did n't like the ending, either." 

Mr. Jack sat up suddenly 

"She didn't like -David, are you sure? 
Did she say that?" 

David frowned in thought. 

"Well, I don't know as I can tell, exactly, 
but I m sure she did n't like it. because just 
before she told me what to say to you, she said 



JUST DAVID 
that — that what she was going to say would 
probably have something to do with the ending 
anyway. Still-" David paused in yet deeper 
thought. "Come to think of it. ther« really 
IS n t anything — not in what she said — that 
changed that ending, as I can see. They did n't 
get married and live happy ever after, anyhow." 
"Yes, but what did she say?" asked Mr. 
Jack m a voice that was not quite steady 
"Now, be careful, David, and tell it just as 
she said it." 

"Oh, I will." nodded David. "She said to do 
that, too." 

"Did she?" Mr. Jack leaned farther forward 
m his chair. "But tell me, how did she happen 
to — to say anything about it? Suppose you 
begin at the beginning — away back. David 
I want to hear it all — all!" 

David gave a contented sigh, and settled 
nmiself more comfortably. 

"Well, to begin with, you see. I told her the 
story long ago, before I was sick, and she was 
ever so interested then, and asked lots of ques- 
tions. Then the other day something came up 
- 1 ve forgotten how - about the ending, and 
I told her how hard I'd tried to have you 
3oo 



A STORY REMODELED 
change it. but you would n't. And she sooke 
ngh up quick and said probably you d S n' 

settled that question without any trouble" 
went on David confidently, "by just teZg Sr 
toThZr»^°"''^«^--^^'^*"«^-''ewU' 

"Why, yes. I had to," answered David in 
sun^nse, "else she would n't have known thit 
you rfrrf want to change it. Don't you see?" 
Oh, yes! I -see -a good deal that I'm 

"Well, then is when I told her about the 
logical ending-what you said, you know _ 

ddnt hke the ending, because she laughed 

said that she wasn't sure she could tell me 
what a logical ending was, but that she wouW 

tTu d S H°;' "' ''.^^' ^"^''°"' *«'- -ding 
would n t be hers - she was sure of that " 

David, did she say that — really?" Mr 
Jack was on his feet now. 
3oi 



mliii 



„ii 



JUST DAVID 
"She did; and then yesterday she asked me 
to come over, and sho said some more things,— 
about the story, I mean, — but she did n't say 
another thing about the ending. She did n't 
ever say anything about that except that little 
bit I told you of a minute ago." 

"Yes, yes, but what did she say?" demanded 
Mr. Jack, stopping short in his walk up and 
down the room. 

"She said: 'You tell Mr. Jack that / know 
something about that story of his that perhaps 
he does n't. In the Hrst place, I know the Prin- 
cess a lot better than he does, and she is n't a 
bit the kind of girl he's pictured her." 
"Yes! Goon — goonl" 
"•Now, for instance,* she says, 'when the 
boy made that call, after the girt first came 
back, and when the boy did n't like it because 
they talked of colleges and travels, and such 
things, you tell him that I happen to know that 
that girl was just hoping and hoping he'd 
speak of the old days and games; but that she 
couldn't speak, of course, when he hadn't 
been even once to see her during all those weeks, 
and when he'd acted in every way just as if 
fae'd forgotten.'" 

3oa 



A STORY REMODELED 
"But she hadn't waved — that Princess 



Jack; 



hadn't waved — once!" argued Mr. 

'and he looked and looked for it." 
"Yes. she spoke of that." returned David 

But sAe said she should n't think the Princess 
would have waved, when she'd got to be such 
a great big girl as that - waving to a boy! She 
said that for her part she should have been 
ashamed of her if she had!" 

"Oh. did she!" murmured Mr. Jack blankly 
droppmg suddenly into his chair. 

"Yes. she did." repeated David, with a little 
virtuous uplifting of his chin. 

It was plain to be seen that David's sympa- 
thies had unaccountably met with a change 
of heart. "* 

"But — the Pauper — " 

"Oh. yes. and that's another thing." inter- 

ZK'^i ^^^^- "'^^^ ^^^ °f the Roses said 
that she did n't like that name one bit; that it 
wasn't true, anyway, because he wasn't a 
pauper. And she said. too. that as for his 
pictunng the Princess as being perfectly happy 
m all that magnificence, he did n't get it right 
at all. For she knew that the Princess was n't 
one bit happy, because she was so lonesome 
3o3 






JUST DAVID 

for things and people she had known when she 
was just the girl." 

Again Mr. Jack sprang to his feet. For a 
minute he strode up and down the room in 
silence; then in a shaking voice he asked: — 

"David, you — you aren't making all this 
up. are you? You 're saying just what - what 
Miss Holbrook told you to?" 

"Why, of course. I'm not making it up " 
protested the boy aggrievedly. "This is the 
Lady of the Roses' story — she made it up — 
only she talked it as if 't was real, of course 
just as you did. She said another thing, too' 
She said that she happened to know that the 
Princess had got all that magnificence around 
her in the first place just to see if it would n't 
make her happy, but that it had n't. and that 
now she had one place— a little room — that 
was left just as it used to be when she was the 
girl, and that she went there and sat very often 
And she said it was rif'-t in sight of where the 
boy lived, too, where hb could see it everyday 
and that if he had n't been so blind he could 
have looked right through those gray walls and 
seen that, and seen lots of other things. And 
what did she mean by that, Mr. Jack?" 
3o4 



A STORY REMODELED 
"I don't know -I don't know. David" 
half-groaned Mr. Jack. "Sometimes I think 
she^means - and then I think that can't be _ 

"But do you think it's helped it any- the 
story?" persisted the boy. "She's only talkS 
a httle about the Princess. She did n't 1^ 
change things any - not the ending " 

mi^Tn ' H^ '' '"'«'•'• D«^'d-she said it 
migh ! Don t you remember?" cried the man 
eagerly And to David, his eagerness d.^not 
seem at all strange. Mr. Jack had said befo^ 

~A J.^^u~^^^^ ''" ^°"'<1 ^ very glad 
indeed to have a happier ending to this tale 

Thmk now." continued the man. "Perhaps 
she said somethmg else, too. Did she say any- 
thuig else, David?" ^ 

David shook his head slowly 

thZ"; 7.'f 7^"*' there was a little some- 
thing, but |t does n't change things any. for it 
wasonly a 'supposing.' Shesaid: 'Just suppos- 
ing, after long years, that the Princess found out 
about how the boy felt long ago. and suppose 
he should look up at the tower some day' at 

It^ -r' '"^ ''' " ""'-'^ ^^^«. which 
meant. Come over to see me." Just what do 

3o6 



m 






« 



JUST DAVID 
you suppose he would do?' But of course, thai 
can't do any good," finished David gloomily, as 
he rose to go to bed, "for that was oray a 
'supposing.'" 

"Of course," agreed Mr. Jad. steadily; and 
David did not know that only stem self-control 
had forced the steadiness into that voice, nor 
that, for Mr. Jack, the whole world had burst 
suddenly into bong. 

Neither did David, the next morning, know 
that 1(11 B before eight o'clock Mr. Jack stood 
at a Certain window, his eyes unswervingly fixed 
on the gray towers of Sunnycrest. What David 
'id know, however, was that just after eight, 
Mr. Jack strode through the room where he 
and Jill were playing checkers, flung himself 
into his hat and coat, and then fairly leaped 
down the steps toward the path that led to the 
footbridge at the bottom of the hill. 

"Why, whatever in the world ails Jack?" 
gasped Jill. Then, after a startled pause, she 
asked: "David, do folks ever go crazy for joy? 
Yesterday, you see. Jack got two splendid pieces 
of news. One was from his doctor. He was ex- 
amined, and he's fine, the doctor says; all well, 
so he can go back now, any time, to the city 
3o6 



A STORY REMODELED 
and work. I shall go to schci then, you know 
-a young ladies' school." she fmished. a little 
importantly. 

"He-swell? How splendid I But what was 
the other news? You said there wore two; only 
It could n't have been nicer than that was; to 
be well — all well!" 

"The other? Well, that was only that his 
old place in the city was waiting for him He 
was with a firm of big lawyers, you know, and 
of course it is nice to have a place all waiting. 
But I can t see anything in those things to 
make him act like this, now. Can you?" 

"Why. yes, maybe." declared David "He's 
found his work - don't you see? - out in the 

r.^'"l'''.^"f u*"*'* *°*"8 *° ^° *'■ I know how 
Id fee if 1 had found mine that father told me 
of! Only what I can't understand is. if Mr 
Jack knew all this yesterday, why did n't he 
act like this then, instead of waiting tiU to- 
day?" 

"I wonder." said Jill. 



ill 



CHAPTER XXV 



THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD 

David found many new songs in his violin 
those early winter days, and they were very 
beautiful ones. To begin with, there were all 
the kindly looks and deeds that were showered 
upon him from every side. There was the first 
snowstorm, too, with the feathery flakes turn- 
ing all the world to fairy whiteness. This song 
David played to Mr. Streeter, one day, and 
great was his disappointment that the man could 
not seem to understand what the song said. 

"But don't you see?" pleaded David. "I'm 
telling you that it's your pear-tree blossoms 
come back to say how glad they are that you 
did n't kill them that day." 

"Pear-tree blossoms — come back!" ejacu- 
lated the old man. "Well, no, I can't see. 
Where's yer pear-tree blossoms?" 

"Why, there — out of the window — every- 
where," urged the boy. 

" There I By ginger! boy — ye don't mean — 
ye can't mean the snow I" 
3o8 



THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD 
"Of couree I do! Now. can't you see it? 
Why. the whole tree was just a great big cloud 
of snowllakes. Don't you remember? Well 
now It's gone away and got a whole lot more 
trees, and all the little white petals have come 
dancmg down to celebrate, and to tell you they 
sure are coming back next year." 

"Well, by ginger!" exclaimed the man again. 

Then, suddenly, he threw back his head with a 

hearty laugh. David ud not quite like the 

augh neither did he care for the fn ^-cent piece 

that the man thrust into his fmgers a little 

later; though -had David but known it- 

both the laugh and the five-cent piece gift were 

— for the uncomprehending man who gave 

them -white milestones along an unfamiliar 

way. 

It was soon after this that there came to 
David the great surprise -his beloved Lady 
of the Roses and his no less beloved Mr. Jack 
were to be married at the beginning of the New 
Year. So very surprised, indeed, was David at 
this, that even his violin was mute, and had 
nothing, at fu^t, to say about it. But to Mr 
Jack, as man to man. David said one day: — 
"I thought men. when they married women. 
3oo 



li 




i) 



JUST DAVID 
went courting. In story-books they do. And 
you — you hardly ever said a word to my beau- 
tiful Lady of the Roses; and you spoke once — 
long ago — as if you scarcely remembered her 
at all. Now, what do you mean by that?" 

And Mr. Jack laughed, but he grew red, too, 
— and then he told it aU, — that it was just 
the story of "The Princess and the Pauper," 
and that he, David, had been the one, as it 
happened, to do part of their courting for them. 
And how David had laughed then, and how 
he had fairly hugged himself for joy ! And when 
next he had picked up his violin, what a beau- 
tiful, beautiful song he had found about it in 
the vibrant strings 1 

It was this same song, as it chanced, that he 
was playing in his room that Saturday after- 
noon when the letter from Simeon HoUy's long- 
lost son John came to the HoUy farmhouse. 

Downstairs in the kitchen, Simeon Holly 
stood, with the letter in his hand. 

"Ellen, we've got a letter from — John," he 
said. That Simeon Holly spoke of it at all 
showed how very far along his unfamiliar way he 
had come since the last letter from John had 
arrived. 

3io 



THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD 
1'^™'!!-J«h°? Oh. Simeon! From John?" 

Simeon sat down and tried to hide the shak- 
ing of his hand as he ran the point of his knife 
under the flap of the envelope. "We'll see 
what -- he says." And to hear him. one might 
have thought that lettersfrom John were every- 
day occurrences. 

ieUe^"andT" •^^'''' '^'°'* ^ ^"^ "^tten [ran the 
letter], and received no answer. But I'm aoinc tn 
make one more effort for forgiveness Ma^y I not 
oZ ''"" 'J^ Christmas? I have a Uttle W of my 
T^ .Tf' ."'"' ""y heart aches for you. I knVw ho^T 

VoVLm '"'* y°" - I ••^^^ "°t Siven up my art 
You told me once to choose between you and U^ and 

ace oT'aU ZrT' t' "^'- ' '«" "'"y- ^el in the 
you at Chri^ml''T ''°".''«"°' "^y I "°t come to 
mMh- ^f'^P'as' I want you. father, and I want 
mother. And I want you to see my bo.- 

wii7'"!" f^ ^^'°° """y- ^"y^S to speak 
With a steady coldness that would not show 
how deeply moved he was. "Well. EUen?" 

"Yes Simeon, yes!" choked his wife, a world 
of mother-love and longing in her pleading 
eyes and voice. "Yes-you'U let it be- 

3ii 




JUST DAVID 

"Uncle Simeon, Aunt Ellen," called David, 
clattering down the stairs from his room, "I've 
found such a beautiful song in my violin, and 
I 'm going to play it over and over so as to be 
sure and remember it for father — for it is a 
beautiful world, Uncle Simeon, is n't it? Now, 
listen!" 

And Simeon Holly Ustened — but it was not 
the violin that he heard. It was the voice of 
a little curly-headed boy out of the past. 

When David stopped playing some time later, 
only the woman sat watching him — the man 
was over at his desk, pen in hand. 

John, John's wife, and John's boy came the 
day before Christmas, and great was the ex- 
citement in the Holly farmhouse. John was 
found to be big, strong, and bronzed with the 
outdoor life of many a sketching trip — a son 
to be proud of, and to be leaned upon in one's 
old age. Mrs. John, according to Perry Larson, 
was "the slickest little woman goin'." Accord- 
ing to John's mother, she was an almost un- 
believable incarnation of a long-dreamed-of, 
long-despaired-of daughter — sweet, lovable, 
and charmingly beautiful. Little John — little 
John was himself; and he could not have been 

3l3 



THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD 
more had he been an angel-cherub straight 
from heaven— which, in fact, he was. in his 
doting grandparents* eyes. 

John Holly had been at his old home less 
than four hours when he chanced upon David's 
violin. He was with his father and mother at 
the tune. There was no one else in the room. 
With a sidelong glance at his parents, he picked 
up the instrument —John Holly had not for- 
gotten his own youth. His violin-playing in 
the old days had not been welcome, he re- 
membered. 
"A fiddle! Who plays?" he asked. 
"David." 

"Oh, the boy. You say you — took him in? 
By the way, what an odd little shaver he is! 
Never did I see a bog like him." 

Simeon Holly's head came up abnost ag- 
gressively. 

"David is a good boy — a very good boy 
mdeed, John. We think a great deal of him.'' 
John Holly laughed lightly, yet his brow ear- 
ned a puzzled frown. Two things John Holly 
had not been able thus far to understand: an 
indefinable change in his father, and the posi- 
tion of the boy, David, in the household — 
3i3 




JUST DAVID 

John Holly was still remembering his own re- 
pressed youth. 

"Hm-m," he murmured, softly picking the 
strings, then drawing across them a tentative 
bow. " I 've a fiddle at home that I play some- 
times. Do you mind if I — tune her up?" 

A flicker of something that was very near to 
humor flashed from his father's eyes. 

"Oh, no. We are used to that — now." And 
again John Holly remembered his youth. 

"Jove! but he's got the dandy instrument 
here," cried the player, dropping his bow after 
the first half-dozen superbly vibrant tones, and 
carrying the violin to the window. A moment 
later he gave an amazed ejaculation and turned 
on his father a dumfounded face. 

" Great Scott, father ! Where did that boy get 
this instrument? I know something of violins, 
if I can't play them much; and this — ! Where 
did he get it?" 

"Of his father, I suppose. He had it when he 
came here, anyway." 

"'Had it when he came'! But, father, you 

said he was a tramp, and — oh, come, tell me, 

what is the secret behind this? Here I come 

home and find calmly reposing on my father's 

3i4 



THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD 
sitting-room table a violin that's priceless, for 
all I know. Anyhow, I do know that its value 
IS reckoned in the thousands, not hundreds- 
and yet you, with equal calmness, tell me it's 
owned by this boy who, it's safe to say. docs n't 
know how to play sixteen notes on it correctly 
to say nothing of appreciating those he does 
play; and who, by your own account, is nothing 
but — " A swiftly uplifted hand of warning 
stayed the words on his lips. He turned to see 
David hmiself in the doorway. 

"Come in, David," said Simeon Holly 
quietly. "My son wants to hear you play I 
don t think he has heard you." And again there 
flashed from Simeon Holly's eyes a something 
very much like humor. 

With obvious hesitation John Holly relin- 
quished the violin. From the expression on his 
face It was plain to be seen the sort of torture 
he deemed was before him. But, as if con- 
strained to ask the question, he did say: — 
" Where did you get this viohn, boy?" 
"I don't know. We've always had it ever 
since I could remember — this and the other 
one." 

"The other one!" 

3i5 



JUST DAVID 

"Father's." 

"Oh!" He hesitated; then, a little severely, 
he observed: "This is a fine instrument, boy, 
— a very fine instrument." 

"Yes," nodded David, with a cheerful smile. 
"Father said it was. I like it, too. This is an 
Amati, but the other is a Stradivarius. I don't 
know which I do like best, sometimes, only this 
is mine." 

With a half-smothered ejaculation John Holly 
fell back limply. ' 

"Then you — do — know?" he challenged. 
"Know — what?" 

"The value of that violin in your hands." 
There was no answer. The boy's eyes were 
questioning. 
"The worth, I mean, — what it's worth." 
"Why, no — yes — that is, it's worth every- 
thing—to me," answered David, in a puzzled 
voice. 

With an impatient ge.sture John Holly 

brushed this aside. 
"But the other one — where is that?" 
"At Joe Glaspell's. T .gave it to him to play 

on, because he had n't any, and he liked to 

play so well." 

3i6 



THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD 
''You gave it to him — a StradivariusI" 
"I loaned it to liim," corrected David, in a 
troubled voice. "Being father's, I couldn't 
bear to give it away. But Joe — Joe had to 
have something to play on." 

Something to play on ' ! Father, he does n't 
mean the River Street Glaspells?" cried John 
Holly. 

"I think he does. Joe is old Peleg Glaspell's 
grandson." 

John Holly threw up both his hands. 
"A Stradivarius — to old Peleg's grandson! 
Oh, ye gods!" he muttered. "Well, I 'U be — " 
He did not finish his sentence. At another word 
from Simeon Holly, David had begun to play. 

From his seat by the stove Simeon Holly 
watched his son's face — and smiled. He saw 
amazement, unbelief, and delight struggle for 
the mastery; but before the playing had ceased, 
he was summoned by Perry Larson to the 
kitchen on a matter of business. S<i it was into 
the kitchen that John Holly burst a little later, 
eyes and cheek aflame. 

"Father, where in Heaven's name did you 
get that boy?" he demanded. "Who taught 
hun to play like that? I 've been tn'\i\ii to find 

3i7 



JUST DAVID 

out from him, but I'd defy Sherlock Holmes 
himself to make head or tail of the sort of lingo 
he talks, about mountain homes and the Or- 
chestra of Life! Father, what does it mean?" 

Obediently Simeon Holly told the story 
then, more fully than he had told it before. 
He brought forward the letter, too, with its 
mysterious signature. 

"Perhaps you can make it out, son," he 
laughed. "None of the rest of us can, though 
I have n't shown it to anybody now for a long 
time. I got discouraged long ago of anybody's 
ever making it out." 

"Make it out — make it out!" cried John 
Holly excitedly; "I should say I could! It's a 
name known the world over. It's the name of 
one of the greatest violinists that ever lived." 
"But how — what — how came he in my 
bam?" demanded Simeon Holly. 

"Easily guessed, from the letter, and from 
what the world knows," returned John, his 
voice still shaking with excitement. "He was 
always a queer chap, they say, and full of his 
notions. Sbt or eight years ago his wife died. 
They say he worshiped her, and for weeks re- 
fused even to touch his violin. Then, very sud- 
3i8 



THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD 
denly, he, with his four-year-old son, disap- 
peared—dropped quite out of sight. Some 
people guessed the reason. I knew a man who 
was well acquainted with him, and at the time 
of the di appearance he told me quite a lot 
about him. He said he was n't a bit surprised 
at what had happened. That already half a 
dozen relatives were interfering with the way 
he wanted to bring the boy up, and that David 
was in a fair way to be spoiled, even then, with 
so much attention and flattery. The father had 
determined to make a wonderful artist of his 
son, and he was known to have said that he 
believed — as do so many others — that the 
first dozen years of a child's life are the mak- 
ing of the man, and that if he could have 
the boy to himself that long he would risk the 
rest. So it seems he carried out his notion until 
he was taken sick, and had to quit — poor 
chap!" 

"But why did n't he teU us plainly in that 
note who he was, then?" fumed Simeon Holly, 
in manifest irritation. 

^^ "He did, he thought," laughed the other. 

"He signed his name, and he supposed that 

was so well known that just to mention it 

3i9 



JUST DAVID 
would be enough. That's why he kept it so 
secret while he was living on the mountain, 
you see, and that's why even David himself 
did n't know it. Of course, if anybody found 
out who he was, that ended his scheme, and he 
knew it. So he supposed all he had to do at 
the last was to sign his name to that note, and 
everybody would know who he was, and David 
would at once be sent to his own people. 
(There's an aunt and some cousins, I believe.) 
You see he didn't reckon on nobody's being 
able to read his name! Besides, being so ill, he 
probably was n't quite sane, anyway." 

"I see, I see," nodded Simeon Holly, frown- 
ing a httle. "And of course if we had made it 
out, some of us here would have known it, 
probably. Now that you call it to mind I think 
I have heard it myself in days gone by — 
though such names mean little to me. But 
doubtless somebody would have known. How- 
ever, that is all past and gone now." 

"Oh, yes, and no harm done. He fell into 
good hands, luckily. You'll soon see the last 
t»f him now, of course." 

"Last of him? Oh, no, I shall keep David," 
said Simeon Holly, with decbion. 
Sao 



THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD 

h.'i!J*?h ''''"' ^*!^' ^""'"' y°" ^«'-8«t *ho 
he .si There are fnends. relatives, an ..i .ring 
public and a mint of money awailin« that 
boy. You can't keep him. You coul.J neve 
have kept h.m this long if this liide town of 
yours had n't been buried in th.s !or«ottrn 
valley up among these hills. You'li hau tl.r 
whole world at your doors the minal. ihev .,.,d 
out he is here - hills or no hills! Bes.aes ( • e-e 
are his people; they have some claim." 

There was no answer. With a suddenly old 
drawn look on his face, the elder man had 
turned away. 

Half an hour later Simeon Holly climbed the 
8 airs to David's room, and as gently and 
Plamly as he could told the boy of this great, 
good thing that had come to him. 

David was amazed, but overjoyed. That he 

affected hmi not at all, only so far as it seemed 
to set his father right in other eyes — in David's 
own, the man had always been supreme. But 
the going away - the marvelous going away - 
tilled hun with excited wonder. 

"You mean. I shall go away and study — 
practice — learn more of my violin?" 

331 



JUST DAVID 
"Yes, David." 

"And hear beautiful music like the organ in 
church, only more — bigger — better?" 
"I suppose so." 

"And know people — dear people— who will 
understand what I say when I play?" 

Simeon Holly's face paled a httle; still, he 
knew David had not meant to make it so 
hard. 
"Yes." 

" Why, it's my • start ' — just what I was go- 
ing to have with the gold-pieces," cried David 
joyously. Then, uttering a sharp cry of • i- 
stemation, he clapped his fingers to his Ups. 
"Your — what?" asked the man. 
"N — nothing, really, Mr. Holly, — Uncle 
Simeon, — n — nothing." 

Something, either the boy's agitation, or the 
luckless mention of the gold-pieces sent a sud- 
den dismayed suspicion into Suneon Holly's 
eyes. 

"Your 'start'?— the 'gold-pieces'? David, 
what do you mean?" 

David shook his head. He did not intend to 
tell. But gently, persistently, Simeon Holly 
questioned until the whole piteous little tale 

333 




'''^"MHnfi&u* 



'IS IT BECAUSE I'M OOIN.I-THAT Y*rtl CARE-fM> MrcH?" 



THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD 

that you care -so much? I never tho2_ 

There was no answer. Simeon HoUv's ev« 
were turned quite away. ^ ^^ 

"Uncle Simeon ~p/Mse/ i_j ^^j . 
don want to go. anyway. I-lJ^^ J 
don't want to go - and leave you!" 

Suneon Holly turned then, and spoke. 

think 'dtir"" r'" «"' °«"'^- Do you 
iniiiK 1 d tie you here to me — no/»?" \« 

choked. "What don't I owe to you-homt 

«>n.happmess! Go?-ofcou,^^you'llgri 
wonder tf you really think I'd let you^tav 
Come we'll go down to mother and teShe; t 
suspect she'll want to start in to-night to «e 
ercITnt.^ir'^^-P'-AndSrheS 
fa^ed th. n, i^'^"^'^ «tep. Simeon Holly 
ttCdor^-"«-^"'^^«'-'andleJ 



393 



uiesniiMmf.. 



JUST DAVID 
The friends, the relaUves, the adoring pubUc, 
the mint of money — they are aU David's now. 
But once each year, man grown though he is, 
he picks up his violin and journeys to a Httle 
village far up among the hills. There in a quiet 
kitchen he plays to an old man and an old 
woman; and always to himself he says that he 
IS practicing against the time when, his violin 
at his chin and the bow drawn across the strings, 
he shall go to meet his father in the far-away 
land, and tell him of the beautiful world he 
has left. 



THE END 



CAMBRUKIB . HASSACHUSBTTB 



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